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LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 



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LAWN TENNIS 

FOR LADIES 



BT 

MRS. LAMBERT CHAMBERS 

LAST CHAMPION, 1903, 1904, 1906 



WITH TWENTT-TBBKB ILLUBTRATIONS 



NEW YORK 
OUTING PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1910 



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HAkVARDN 
uNivhRSlTY 
LiBRAkY 






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ivvW.*vti '. C>L4^V 



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TO 

MY FATHER 

WHOSE KEENNESS AND ENCOURAGEMENT 

HAVE ALWAYS BEEN 

SUCH A GREAT HELP TO ME 

DURING MY LAWN TENNIS CAREER 



PREFACE 

AS a rule an author writes a preface to 
explain or to apologize for a book. 
I shall do neither: I have tried to explain 
my meaning simply and clearly in the book 
itself, and I am optimistic enough to think 
that my favourite game is too popular to 
require an apology for increasing its litera- 
ture, however unpretentious the attempt may 
be. Moreover, I am still too much afifected 
by the '' brilliant and feverish glow '* of 
enthusiasm to dream of offering one. 

Two things only I wish to say. First, 
that I am writing with no academic pride, 
but only with a passionate fondness for 
what I consider a great sport, and with a 
keen desire to make others equally devoted. 

Vll 



O^r ola'LUr<M (ZLxuJru-^ 



LIST OP ILLUSTRATIONS 



MRS. LAMBBRT CHAMBERS FrontispUce 

FACING PAGE 

wimbledon, i905 : miss may sutton winning th£ 
ladies' championship for the first time . . 10 

From a photograph by Bowdmi Brothers. 

THE FORE-HAND DRIVE 22 

THE BACK-HAND DRIVE 24 

SERVICE 30 

From photographs by Dexter. 

MRS. G. W. HILLYARD AND MR. NORMAN BROOKES \ 

MISS PINCKNEY AND MR. G. W. HILLYARD / * ^ 

MISS D. K. DOUGLASS AND MR. A. F. WILDING 1 

MISS EASTLAKE SMITH AND MR. R. F. DOHERTY / * ' ^ 

MISS MAY SUTTON, WHO WON THE LADIES' CHAMPIONSHIP 

AT WIMBLEDON, I905, 1907 44 

From a photograph by Bowden Brothers. 

ON TOUR : THE LATE MISS C. MEYER, MISS PINCKNEY, 

AND MISS E. W. THOMSON (MRS. LARCOMBE) . . 64 

GROUP OF PLAYERS AT THE NEWCASTLE TOURNAMENT, I902 74 

AFTER THE LADIES* FINAL AT WIMBLEDON : TEA ON THE 

LAWNS 78 

From a photograph by Bowden Brothers. 

A TOURNAMENT HOUSE-PARTY AT NEWCASTLE ... 82 

xi 



xii LIST OP ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGB 
" MY SISTERS AND MYSELF " 86 

A pktur»iMttcard mdi to Mrs. Lambwt Chambtn by Mln May Sutton 
firom bar hoiiM ia CalUbniU. 

AUTOGRAPHS FROM MY ALBUM 92 

SOME OF THE FRUITS OF VICTORY IQ2 

THE CHALLENGE ROUND AT WIMBLEDON, I905 : MISS 

SUTTON (AMERICA) V, MISS D. K. DOUGLASS . . IO4 

Fran a photogn4»h by Bowdao Brotben. 

MOTOR-CARS WAITING OUTSIDE THE ALL ENGLAND GROUND 
AT WIMBLEDON DURING THE LADIES* CHALLENGE 
ROUND, 1906 106 

WIMBLEDON, I906 : MISS DOUGLASS (nOW MRS. LAMBERT 
CHAMBERS) WRESTING THE CHAMPIONSHIP FROM MISS 
SUTTON, THE HOLDER I08 

MRS. HILLYARD ^ 

MRS. STERRY I ^ 

MISS V. M. PINCKNEYj 

MISS D. BOOTHBY j 

From a photograpb by G. & R. Lavis, Eastbourne. 



MRS. LARCOMBE 

128 



MRS. LAMPLOUGH I 



MISS A. M. MORTON 
MISS A. N. G. GREENE. 

From a photograpb by G. & R. Lavis, Eastbourne 






) 



LAWN TENNIS FOR 

LADIES 

CHAPTER I 
ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 

I HOPE and believe there are compara- 
tively few people who will deny that 
athletics have done much for the health and 
mind of the modern girl. Exercise in 
some form or other is essential, and although 
I am quite ready to admit that games of 
the strenuous type, such as hockey and 
lawn tennis, can be and sometimes are over- 
done, yet the girl of to-day, who enters into 
and enjoys her game with scarcely less zest 
than her brother, is, I am convinced, better 
in health and happier in herself than the 



2 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

girl of the past generation. What are the 
objections to games for girls? It seems 
to me the chief arguments against them are 
(i) that they are injurious to health ; (2) that 
they impair the womanliness of woman ; 
(3) that they mar her appearance. There 
may be something to be said for these con- 
tentions, but to my mind the pros materially 
outweigh the cons. 

As to the injury to health, I deny that 
the case is proved. Indeed, evidence is 
rarely forthcoming. A delicate girl would 
probably become more delicate if she did not 
play games in moderation and take exercise. 
A friend of mine, an old doctor, told me the 
other day that in his youth the great plague 
of his life was the hysterical female. She 
would put in an appearance obtrusively at 
critical moments, and the anticipation of a 
scene always shadowed his arrangements. 
We rarely see this type now. Games have 
driven her away. The woman of the present 
generation is calm, collected, and free from 



ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 8 

emotional outbursts, and I believe that in* 
vigorating outdoor exercise is the chief cause. 
As to the second objection, the injury 
to the womanliness of woman, the answer 
depends on what is meant by the essential 
feature of ** womanliness." I am afraid most 
people, including most men, say with 
Hamlet, ** Frailty, thy name is woman." 
Womanliness to most men implies just 
frailty. They may perhaps call it ''deli- 
cacy," and refer to the ** weaker sex," but 
they mean that just as a man's glory is his 
strength, so a woman's glory is her weak- 
ness. They argue that you must impair 
this ** weakness " by strenuous games. Is 
this true? Is the essential feature of a 
woman her weakness, just as the essential 
feature of a man is his strength, not merely 
physical, but mental and moral strength? 
I do not think so. Woman is a second 
edition of man^ if you will ; therefore, like 
most second editions, an improvement on 
the first ! As Lessing puts it, ** Nature 



4 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

meant to make woman its mastetpiece." I 
well remember reading in a stirring narrative 
of the Indian Mutiny how a small party 
of English men and women were besieged 
in their quarters by a body of rebels, and 
while the men fought at the windows and 
doors the women were busy preparing 
ammunition, loading guns, bandaging wounds, 
and zealously cheering their war-worn de- 
fenders. When victory was at length 
achieved, the men asked themselves what 
would have happened but for the women. 
That, to my mind, was a picture of true 
** womanliness." Inferior in neither moral 
strength nor brain-power, the true woman 
is a helpmeet, or man's complement, giving 
him just the special form of strength in 
body and soul that he needs for the special 
experience. 

If this, then, be "womanliness," can athletic 
games injure it? Do they spoil woman's 
usefulness as a woman? Do they damage 
her specific excellence? Do they tend to 



ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 6 

give her less endurance and nerve at 
critical times ? I do not think so. Certainly 
lawn tennis does not. It is undoubtedly a 
strenuous game. There is more energy of 
physical frame, more brain-tax and will* 
discipline demanded in one hardly contested 
match than would suffice for a whole day's 
devotion to many other games. These re- 
quirements must help a woman, and in the 
possession of the qualities that games bestow 
athletic girls have a great pull over their 
sisters. If you are skilled and well drilled 
in discipline and sportsmanship, you are 
bound to benefit in the strife of the world. 
You are the better able to face disappoint- 
ments and sorrows. For what do these 
strenuous games mean? Exercise in the 
open air, and exercise of a thorough and 
engrossing character, carried out with 
cheerful and stimulating surroundings, with 
scientific methods, rational aims, and absorb- 
ing chances. Surely that is the foundation 
of health culture. 



6 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

The truth is, games have done for women 

what the dervish's subtle prescription did 

for the sick sultan. You perhaps remember 

the story. The sultan, having very bad 

health from over-feeding, sedentary habits, 

and luxurious ease, consulted the clever 

dervish. The dervish knew that it would 

be useless to recommend the sultan simply 

to take exercise. He therefore said to him, 

** Here is a ball, which I have stuffed with 

certain rare and costly medicinal herbs, and 

here is a bat, the handle of which I have 

also stuffed with similar herbs. Your high- 

ness must take this bat and with it beat 

about this ball until you perspire freely. 

You must do this every day." His highness 

acquiesced, and in a short time the exercise 

of playing bat and ball with the dervish 

greatly improved his health, and by degrees 

cured him of his ailment. Now, the tennis 

ball, to my mind, is stuffed with medicinal 

herbs which impart vigour and health to 

the player. The racket is possessed with a 



ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 7 

magic handle that has the power of quicken- 
ing all the pulses of life in the plenitude 
of healthy vigour and wholesome excitement. 
In a medical book now before me the 
subject is put tersely thus : *' Health and 
strength depend on rapid disorganisation, 
and rapid disorganisation depends on rapid 
exertion." Now, if this is true, what better 
and more interesting method of rapid 
exertion could be devised than a game of 
lawn tennis? Body and mind alike are 
wholly absorbed with the utmost rapidity, 
and there is no doubt the sense of refresh- 
ment is largely due to the rapid exertion 
demanded for the proper playing of the 
game. The medical book goes on to say, 
*• During exertion we drink, as it were, 
oxygen from the air." This oxygen is the 
only stimulating drink we can take with 
lasting advantage to ourselves for the 
purpose of invigorating our strength. It 
is the wine and spirit of life, an abundance 
of which Nature hasj supplied us with ready- 



8 LAWN TENNIS lOR LADIES 

made. If you are low-spirited, drink oxygen. 
Take active exercise in the open air and 
inhale it. When next you see a lawn tennis 
player hard at a strenuous game, remember 
he or she is not necessarily overstraining 
or injuring health, but taking long, deep 
draughts of oxygen, imbibing the wine and 
spirit of life and laying up a store of vigour 
in readiness for the varied experiences of 
life. 

Of all games lawn tennis is the one 
most suited to girls. Its claims are many 
and potent. It is strenuous and very hard 
work, but if not overdone* it is not too 
taxing for the average girl. The exercise 
depends naturally upon the nature of the 
game played and the players engaged, from 
the championships to the garden-party pat- 
ball game. The greater the knowledge of 
the game the greater the enjoyment and 
benefit derived from it, and there is really 
no reason why a girl should not excel at 
the game and therefore thoroughly appre- 



ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 9 

ciate and enjoy it. It is not physical and 
brute strength that is wanted so much as 
scientific application — ^finesse, skill, and deli- 
cacy of touch, all of which women are just 
as capable of exercising as men. 

I am well aware that if you compare 
the lady champion of any year with any 
first-class man of the same year you will 
find a great disparity between their actual 
play. That is to say, the first-class man 
would be able to give the lady champion 
thirty or even more in order to have a 
close struggle. I have often played Mr. 
R. F. Doherty at the tremendous odds of 
receive half-forty, and have not always been 
returned the winner at that ! I wonder 
sometimes why there is this pronounced 
discrepancy. Garments may make a little 
difference, but they do not account for 
it all. I think perhaps that man's stronger 
physique, naturally greater activity, and 
severer strokes prevent the girl from play- 
ing her own game. She has to be nearly 



10 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

always on the defensive, and thus plays 
with less accuracy and power. 

Another claim lawn tennis has for girls 
is that it is not an expensive game. It is 
more or less within the reach of all, rich 
or poor. It can be played on one's own 
lawn or at any of the numerous clubs situ- 
ated all over the world, or even nowadays 
in some of the public parks. The time 
required to play a game is not excessive. 
The implements, rackets, balls, nets, etc.^ 
are neither numerous nor prohibitive in 
price. The club subscriptions are moderate, 
and the actual expenses of pursuing the 
game are small as compared with golf 

Then, again, lawn tennis is not difficult 
to learn, although of course by this I do 
not mean that it is an easy game to play 
well — ^far from it. But a rudimentary idea 
of it suffices to give any one a good 
deal of healthy exercise and enjoyment, 
and provided that one is keen and wishes 
to improve, and possesses what is known 



ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 11 

as a good games' eye, there is no reason 
why advance should not be rapid. It is 
also a pastime in which women can com- 
bine with and compete against men without 
in any way spoiling the game ; and mixed 
doubles, to which I refer, are perhaps the 
most popular department with the average 
spectator. I think I am not wrong in say- 
ing that there is no other game at the 
present time in which this combination of 
the sexes does not tend to minimize the 
enjoyment of the player and the interest 
of the spectator. A mixed foursome at 
golf is poor sort of fun for the man, unless 
the ladies are quite first-class ; the game 
is rather spoilt for him. Mixed hockey is 
an abomination ; splendid sport absolutely 
spoiled for both sexes. But a mixed double 
at lawn tennis seems like a distinct game, 
so different is it to the other forms of lawn 
tennis and so well adapted to the com- 
bination of both sexes. 

Then it is asserted that strenuous games 



IS LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

mar the appearance of girls. This charge 
was very deliberately brought against hockey 
for women some little time ago in an in- 
fluential London journal, and was rightly 
and promptly answered by a spirited article 
with illustrations of some well-known lady 
hockey players — ^proof positive of the fallacy 
that hockey damaged their appearance. I 
am afraid most of these contortions are 
the product of the snapshot camera. It 
must be remembered that instantaneous 
photographs show players of games as 
they are really never seen. Girls are doubt- 
less in the ungraceful position represented 
for a fraction of a second ; but the time 
is too short for the eye to see, although 
the camera, worse luck, catches the view, 
and what is more, registers it for ever! 
Though a girl should always try to be as 
neat and look as nice as she possibly can, 
even when playing a strenuous game, it is 
hardly possible or natural to be "just so" 
every second of a long struggle. In fact. 



ATHLETICS FOR GIRLS 18 

I think it is more interesting to see a 
girl not absolutely immobile. I prefer that 
she should show some signs of excitement, 
that her muscles should be strained and her 
face set. This has a very real pleasure 
of its own, and I do not think it unsightly. 
Public speaking and singing may distort 
the mouth and disturb the facial muscles 
to a most ludicrous extent and give the 
eyes quite an unnatural appearance; but 
I have never yet heard it said that a man 
or woman should give up either because 
of its effect upon the appearance. Why, 
then, should women abandon athletic exer- 
cises, which they enjoy so much, and which 
do them so much good, merely because, 
just for a moment or two perhaps, their 
appearance is distorted? 



CHAPTER n 
PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 

PLAYERS, even tournament players, 
often ask how they can improve, 
** I have been at the same stage so long ; 
what can I do to play a better game?" 
That is not infrequently the question. 
Now I think many who are very anxious 
to advance go to work in the wrong way. 
To my mind, the great point Xo remember 
when you are practising is not that the 
match must be won, but that all your 
weak strokes must be improved. We all 
know our special failures ; if not, some 
kind friend will soon point them out to us. 
Tackle these doggedly in practice. Strokes 
naturally avoided in a match should be 

«4 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 16 

given as much exercise as possil^le in a 
knock-up game. It is the only way. Many 
players make the cardinal mistake of play- 
ing day after day in the same way; they 
starve all their weak strokes and overdo 
all their best ones; in fact, they play in 
precisely the same manner as if the occa- 
sion were an important match. If you do 
this, you must always preserve those weak 
strokes ; they are not even given a chance to 
develop. I once asked a girl whom I noticed 
continually running round her back-hand in 
a practice game, why she did this. The 
characteristic answer came back: "I cannot 
take a back hand. I should be hopelessly 
beaten if I didn't run round the ball." But 
what does it matter if you are beaten fifty 
times in a practice game if you are improving 
your strokes? That girl's back-hand could 
never improve ; she made absolutely no dis- 
tinction between a practice game and a 
match. In fact, it was very little of a 
practice game to her. How can your game 



16 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

improvei or move forward, if you make no 
efibrt to strengthen what is feeble ? 

Practise, then, conscientiously, and with 
infinite patience ; never mind who beats 
you. Take each weak stroke in turn, and 
determine to master it, and I think you 
will find that you will be amply rewarded 
for all your painstaking work by a vast im- 
provement and keener enjoyment in your 
game. What greater delight than to feel 
a stroke you have always dreaded becoming 
easier and less embarrassing each time you 
use it, to know that you are genuinely 
advancing instead of making no progress 
and playing the same old bad shots time 
after time ? I am sure you will say such 
a sense of achievement is worth all the 
trouble which must be faced and all the 
patience which must be exercised. 

Of course in match play it is quite 
different. You avoid your weak strokes 
as much as you can ; your object then is 
to win the game. But after discriminate 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 17 

practice you will find, probably to your sur- 
prise, that there are not so many weak spots 
after all to remove, that your game is open- 
ing out and steadily advancing. Do not 
get easily disheartened if you find improve- 
ment slow ; for a game that is worth playing 
at all is worth playing well, and to play 
lawn tennis well you must go through a 
stiff apprenticeship. You must school your- 
self to meet disappointments and failures ; 
you must cultivate a philosophic spirit, or 
you will never reach the goal of perfection. 
I need not say that if you wish to go 
forward enthusiasm is essential. Lawn 
tennis players never seem to me to be 
nearly so keen on their game as golfers. 
So' many of them appear quite satisfied to 
remain at a fixed stage. They will certainly 
not get their handicap reduced unless there 
is an ardent desire to become better ac- 
quainted with the science of the game. A 
struggling golfer is never tired of learning 
and talking about his pastime — often, I 



18 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

admit, to the annoyance of people who are 
not so obsessed. Nevertheless, he is on 
the right track ; and being so thoroughly 
absorbed and in earnest, he ought to im- 
prove. You will find him buying every 
new book that comes out and poring over 
its pages. He may play in a few com- 
petitions, but his time is more seriously 
occupied with practice and improvement. 
He wisely deprecates the continuous strain 
of match play. He prefers to acquire a 
working knowledge of the game, to make 
the various strokes with some degree of 
accuracy, before he pits his skill against 
others. 

I think this lack of adequate practice is 
one of the reasons why there is such a 
dearth of rising talent among lawn tennis 
players. Some of the competitors one 
meets at tournaments have been for years 
at exactly the same stage. They never 
pause to take stock of their game. They 
never advance or cultivate a new stroke. 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO EMPKOVE 19 

They go from one tournament to another, 
struggling to win by hook or by crook. 
Assisted by a generous handicap, they may 
win a prize, and, apparently, they are 
satisfied. Let me say, in regard to tourna- 
ments, that when you are taking your 
strokes correctly and are really adding to 
your knowledge of the game, open com- 
petitions are admirable, and are essential 
if the highest honours are to be achieved. 
But tournaments can very easily be over- 
done, especially by young players who 
have not completed what I may call stroke- 
education. 

When you are practising, remember tcT 
practise headwork as well as strokes. 
Cultivate thinking about the game. Never 
mind asking an experienced player for ad- 
vice. Most people who play the game well 
are anxious that every one should improve ; 
they want them to get more enjoyment 
out of the game, and they want the general 
standard of play to advance. As a rule 



to LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

they never mind giving a helpful hint. 
Do not hesitate, therefore, to ask for that 
help. Discuss the game with your friends 
and find out all you can about it. Read 
all the excellent books that have been 
written on the game from time to time. 
I have often noticed that beginners will 
willingly pay their entrance fees for open 
events at tournaments, when they know 
very well that nothing but a miracle will 
take them through the first round. Yet 
the same players grumble at the expense 
of purchasing books dealing with the game. 
The book would most probably help them 
a great deal, whereas the one solitary 
match does them no good. It is over so 
quickly, the difference in the class of play 
is so great, that the beginner hardly hits 
the ball at all. 

A good way of practising is to play up 
against a brick wall. In my own case I 
found the method very useful. It helps 
one to keep the eye on the ball, to time 



■ 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 21 

well, and place with accuracy. Another 
good way of practising is not to score, but 
to get some friend to hit or even throw 
the ball where ypu want it. Systematic 
stroke-play like this for half an hour a 
day, finishing up with a game which brings 
into play the stroke you have been develop- 
ing, is bound to improve your game. I 
know of one champion of England who 
always practised in this way. Any new 
stroke that had to be mastered was passed 
through the mill and assiduously exercised 
until perfection came. If no friend were 
available for the purpose, the butler had 
to devote an hour a day to throwing the 
ball in the given direction. 

To come to the various strokes, I do 
not mean to enter into these elaborately. 
There are now so many good books in 
the market that deal exhaustively with this 
subject, such as "The Complete Lawn- 
Tennis Player," by A. Wallis Myers, that 
I shall not aim at covering old ground. 



tfl LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

The first and foremost stroke to be learnt 
is Tk$ Fore^hand Drive. A good fore-hand 
is one of the chief assets of the game ; a 
good length must be one of the first things 
to cultivate. The ball must be sent as 
near the base line as possible. Do not at 
first try to get a severe shot, but prac- 
tise getting a good-length slow ball until 
you are very accurate at that You will 
find that pace and direction will come 
afterwards. When making a fore-hand 
drive stand sideways to the net. Your left 
shoulder should face the net, your left foot 
should be in front of your right. Wait as 
long as possible for the ball. By this I 
mean, do not rush in to it ; wait for it 
to come to you. Stand well away from 
it, sideways and lengthways. Swing your 
racket slowly back to about the level of 
your shoulder, then bring it slowly for- 
ward, and simultaneously transfer your 
weight from your right foot to your left. 
This transference of weight, let me add» is 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 28 

most important, and can only be achieved 
by careful practice. If it is transferred too 
soon or too late, the whole power of the 
stroke is lost. 

The ball must be hit firmly and cleanly 
with the centre of the racket. Feel as if 
you were literally sweeping it along — ^your 
movement must be so perfectly timed — to 
the place you wish it to go, not forgetting 
to follow well through with your arm and 
shoulder in a line with the flight of the 
ball. Great muscular strength is not needed 
to play well. Timing your stroke^ tranS" 
/erring your weight at the right moment, 
and following well through at the finish — 
these are the chief secrets of good and 
powerful strokes. Do not be content 
merely to watch the ball, but keep your 
eye fixed on it until the last possible 
moment, following it right on to the centre 
of your racket. Until you have tried this 
you cannot realize how difficult it is, or 
how greatly it will improve your stroke ; 



S4 LAWN TENNIS FOB LADIES 

and it helps to complete concentration, 
which to my mind is one of the chief at- 
tributes of success. 

The Back-hand Drive is taken in the 
same way as the fore-hand, only with your 
position reversed. Here, too, you must 
not face the net, but stand sideways. This 
time your right shoulder must face the net 
The position of your feet for a back-hand 
stroke is most important ; it is where so 
many beginners go wrong. Take a step 
towards the ball with your right foot in 
front of your left, and with your weight at 
the start of the stroke on the ball of your 
left foot. Swing your racket well back, 
with its head raised above your wrist, and 
hit the ball firmly with the centre of your 
racket. Be transferring your weight all 
the time from your left foot to your right, 
and follow well through in the direction 
of the flight of the ball. When playing a 
back-hand across the court, from comer to 
corner, let your arm and shoulder on the 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 25 

follow through be extended as far as they 
will go, and your body brought round to 
face the net. 

The lob is a most important and useful 
stroke and should be constantly practised. 
It is by no means an easy stroke to play 
really well and accurately. It is generally 
a defensive shot, and makes your opponent 
move from the net, unless she intends to 
be beaten by it. I am speaking, of course, 
of the singles game. It is a useful stroke 
for giving you breathing time if you are 
made to run about much, or for enabling you 
to get back into position if you have been 
forced out of it. It is nearly always best 
to lob to your opponent's back-hand, since 
the majority of players are weaker there. 

There are three kinds of lobs: (i) The 
high lob^ sent well out of reach of your 
opponent's racket, but with the disadvan- 
tage of taking some time to reach the 
ground. Although it moves your opponent 
out of her dangerous position right up at 



t6 LAWN TENNIS FOB LADIES 

the net» there is time for her to run back 
and return it. (2) The low lob, which only 
just passes over your opponent's racket — ^, 
much more risky shot than the high lob, 
but with the advantage of falling much 
quicker. If you succeed in getting the ball 
out of her reach, it is almost certain to be 
a winning shot, because she will not have 
time to turn and go after what is a very 
fast-dropping ball. (3) The lob-volley is 
one of the prettiest strokes and a most 
effective one. It is very difficult to accom- 
plish with success; there is always great 
risk of not getting it out of your oppo- 
nent's reach and having it killed outright. 
It is generally played with an under-hand 
stroke by hitting the ball before it has 
reached the ground, and lifting it well over 
your opponent's head. It should be a high 
k)b. The racket must be grasped firmly 
and held nearly horizontal for this stroke. 
In playing lobs the racket must come 
well underneath the ball, which should be 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE «7 

struck very truly in the centre of the 
racket 

The Half Volley. — This stroke has great 
possibilities, and is efficacious both in attack 
and defence, although chiefly used for de- 
fence. The ball must be hit immediately 
after it has bounced; in fact, within a few 
inches after its impact with the ground. 
For attacking it can easily be seen how 
useful this stroke can become; the time 
gained, as compared to waiting for the 
ground stroke, is invaluable. But it wants 
a perfect eye to play it with any facility; 
the majority of players do not watch the 
ball long enough. Lack of confidence is 
another reason why this stroke is not used 
more on the offensive. 

A short drop shot from the back of the 
court, or, in fact, from any position in the 
court (but I think more effectively used 
from the back of the court), is a very paying 
stroke to have at your command. It is 
most difficult to be accurate with this shot, 



98 LAWN TENNIS FOB LADIES 

and it needs much patient practice. Yet 
it is one on which trouble may very profit- 
ably be expended, for it often turns the 
tide at a critical moment. 

I remember playing one match where I 
used this stroke a great deal. Owing to 
its success — ^my opponent never even at- 
tempted to reach it — I won ace after ace. 
At the end of the match my opponent 
indignantly upbraided me. '' I cannot ad-* 
mire your length," she protested. Neither 
did she think it was "fair to play sneaks," 
adding, "Anybody could win if they 
cared to play like that." In her opinion 
it wasn't tennis ! I'm afraid I did not 
take this censure very seriously. As the 
object of the game is to put the ball 
as far out of reach of your opponent as 
possible, I could not see what difierence 
there was between making her run from 
side to side of the base-line or to the net 
and back again. Both methods as regards 
placing are just as good tennis, and 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 89 

should be used judiciously in turn. But 
this sort of argument did not appeal to 
my opponent ; she still thought any one 
could win who cared to play that " unsport- 
ing game." Perhaps the incident caused 
her to think a little, and it may be she 
tried ihe stroke in her next match. If so, 
I am quite sure she did not find it so easy 
to play accurately as she had imagined. 

The danger of this stroke is that unless 
it is just in the right spot, instead of giving 
you an advantage it will be a very easy 
ball for your opponent to score off. If it 
is short, it will find the net ; if hit too 
far, it becomes a bad-length ball and will 
get the punishment it deserves. It is 
difficult to explain how this stroke should 
be played. I think it is best to stand very 
close to the ball and get rather in front 
of it, drawing the racket across it from 
right to left — stroking the ball, as it were, 
rather than hitting it. It requires a delicate 
touch, and can be very deceptively played. 



80 LAWN TENNIS FOB LADIES 

Your opponent is kept in the dark until 
the last momenti when the ace has probably 
been won. 

The Service. — I should, as a rule, advise 
an overhead service. At the same time, 
an underhand cut service is very useful 
as a change. Variety of stroke and tactics 
should always be encouraged. 

For an overhead service stand sideways 
to the net, with your left foot just behind 
the base-line, the left shoulder facing the 
net, and the right foot a little to the right 
of and behind the left. Throw the ball 
high up over your right ear, bend your 
body well back and your right shoulder 
down. Raise the racket at the same time 
as you throw up the ball, hit it with the 
centre of your racket, bringing your body 
forward with all its weight on to the ball, 
and transferring your weight from the right 
foot to the left at the moment of impact 
Bring your racket right through, and finish 
a little to the left of your left knee. At 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 81 

the time you throw the ball into the air 
the left shoulder must be facing the net» 
and ais your racket hits the ball and follows 
through to your left knee your body should 
be brought round to face the net. 

Do not at first attempt a fast service ; 
keep your ardour down until you have 
gained a mastery of the ball and can vary 
its direction. Place is always better than 
pace ; this applies, generally speaking, to 
other strokes besides the service. Try to 
cultivate a second service which bears a 
likeness to the first. That is to say, if you 
have served a fault (and the best players 
in the world cannot be absolutely sure that 
their first delivery will not pitch just over 
the side-line or service-line or hit the top 
of the net), do not be contented with a 
soft and guileless second which has no 
length and which^ gives your opponent an 
excellent chance of making a winning drive. 
Most players are weaker on their back- 
hand. Remember that fact^and place your 



8S LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

ball accordingly. It is a good plan, when 
serving from the right-hand court, to aim 
for the spot where the centre line bisects 
the service-line. Length and direction will 
both be good, and in nine cases out of ten 
your opponent will be required to move to 
make the return — always a point in your 
favour. 

Remember that variety in service, as in 
tactics and general play, is essential. How- 
ever fast your service may be, if its pace 
and placing are stereotyped, a good deal 
of its efficacy is lost, since your adversary 
knows what to expect, where to stand, and 
the kind of stroke suitable for return. It 
is better to possess a variety of slow ser- 
vices, if they have good length, than to 
own one fast service which has no particu- 
lar merit except speed. And, of course, the 
faster the ball comes off the racket the more 
liable is it to go astray. Another reason 
why you should temper zeal with discretion 
is that a vigorous service will tire you out 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 88 

like nothing else, and in a long match 
stamina should be judiciously preserved. 
You never know when an extra spurt may 
not be required to turn the scale in your 
favour. I have often noticed the difference 
in length and sting between the service of 
some players at the beginning of the match 
and in the third set, and I am sure that 
one of the reasons why so many matches 
are ultimately lost after a promising start 
is the decline in the service, in its sustained 
vigour and in its length. 

By the way, why do many lady players, 
even those who compete at open tourna- 
ments, stand several feet behind the base- 
line when serving? Are they aware that 
the length of their service is probably just 
so many feet short of what it ought to be 
and that they voluntarily give themselves 
an extra journey to recover short returns, 
even if they reach them at all ? You will 
never find expert players, who appreciate 
what I may call the geometry of the court, 

3 



S4 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

penalise themselves in this manner. Yet 
the habit, for some reason or other, would 
appear to be on the increase. 

Low Volleys. — For these strokes the head 
of your racket should be above your wrist, 
your elbow low down, and your knees 
slightly bent. You should, in fact, stoop 
so that your eye is level with the flight of 
the ball. The late Mr. H. S. Mahony 
used to say that if girls would only bend 
down more to the ball they would be able 
to volley much better. You should not 
swing back as far for a volley as for a 
ground stroke, nor relax a firm grip of your 
racket, remembering to follow through to 
the place you wish the ball to go. In over- 
head work it is most important to remember 
the oft-repeated maxim : '* Keep your eye 
on the ball." Watch it up to the moment 
of striking. Do not always " smash " every 
overhead ball when a well-placed volley 
will win the ace just as well. It is a waste 
of much*needed strength, and there is a 



PRACTICE, AND HOW TO IMPROVE 86 

greater risk of making a mistake. For a 
smash the right shoulder should be down 
and well under the ball, the head and weight 
well back, the weight transferred at the 
moment of striking from the right to the 
left leg, the body balanced with extended 
left arm, and the body- weight brought right 
on to the ball as it is hit. Finish to the 
left of your left knee as in the service. 



CHAPTER III 
MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 

WHEN you have acquired a certain 
knowledge of the game and can play 
the various strokes in the correct way, then, 
as I have said, tournament and match play 
is the very best method of improvement. 
I would emphasize the need for a certain 
standard of efficiency, because I am convinced 
that at the present time there are too many 
weak players competing at open meetings. 
The style of these players has only to be 
watched to be condemned, and their know- 
ledge of the game is hopelessly limited. 
Invariably making strokes in a wrong way, 
tournament play only serves to consolidate 
weaknesses and check advance. 

But assuming you have practised on sound 

3fi 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 87 

lines and are fit to take part in what, after 
all, should be a test of trained skill, tourna- 
ments will then be a great help to you. 
You will more often than not play against 
better players than yourself — an advantage 
denied you in practice — and against all 
varieties of attack and defence. You have 
the chance of watching first-class matches 
and learning at first hand how the different 
strokes should be played. You should be 
careful, however, to limit the number of 
your tournaments, especially when the ex- 
citement and strain are new to you ; other- 
wise you will do much more harm than 
good. I am convinced that, generally 
speaking, players attend too many meetings. 
Instead of their play improving, it may 
deteriorate. They run the fearful risk of 
staleness— one of the greatest dangers to a 
lawn tennis player — and they become physi- 
cally worn out. As soon as you find you 
are losing interest in the game, when it 
becomes an effort to go into court, give 



S8 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

the game a rest. It is clear you have 
overdone it and need a period of recupera- 
tion. One or two tournaments at a time, 
and then a rest to practise the new strokes 
and tactical moves you have learnt and 
seen, would, I feel sure, be much more 
helpful to your game than tournament tour- 
ing, week*in and week-out. 

Some people advise you to dismiss the 
coming match entirely from your mind before 
going into court. Personally I find this 
physically impossible, and I do not commend 
the suggestion. I think it is much better to 
study your opponent's game before pitting 
your own against it. Many matches may be 
lost while you are finding out the right line of 
attack. Therefore I advise you to think about 
the match you are going to play. Mentally 
rehearse your mode of campaign. But do 
not worry over the possible result. At all 
costs it must not be allowed to disturb your 
sleep the night before — ^there is nothing puts 
me of! my game so much as a sleepless night. 




MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 89 

As soon as you know who your oppo- 
nent is, seize every opportunity to watch her 
play, get to know her strong and her weak 
points, and map out your plan of campaign. 
Then come the first preliminaries, the toss 
for choice of sides or service. In choosing 
your side you must take into consideration 
the position of the sun, the wind, the slope 
of the court (if any), and the background. 
If you have won the toss and do not mind 
on which side you start playing, and also 
have a good service, elect to begin the 
service. If you have won the toss and for 
some good reason do not wish to serve 
first, you can make your opponent serve ; 
but remember that you also give her choice 
of courts. 

One of the great things to remember in 
match play is this— do not strive to win 
outright with every stroke. Especially does 
this maxim apply to the return of the 
service. So many players are inaccurate 
with this important stroke simply because 



40 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

their sole ambition is to make it end the 
rest. Much better to work for your open- 
ing. Try to imagine where your oppo- 
nent will be after taking a certain stroke, 
and then according to this position deter- 
mine which is the best stroke to play 
next. It is similar to playing chess. 
You should think a move or sometimes 
two moves in advance. Length, variety of 
stroke, and direction are the chief factors 
in success when playing a single. Very 
often when the place to send the ball 
is obvious, even to the spectators, it 
is just as obvious to your opponent, 
and she will probably be making for that 
place before you have even . hit the ball. 
Then is the time to return the ball, not 
where every one, your opponent included, 
anticipates, but straight back to the origi- 
nal place — that is, the spot your opponent 
is just hurriedly leaving. She will most 

probably be beaten by this simple device. 
Trite though the hint may appear, always 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 41 

try to send the ball where it will be least 
expected. 

Again I would urge the importance of 
keeping your whole attention absorbed on 
the game. Complete concentration is abso- 
lutely essential. You musi lose yourself in 
the game— -eye, mind, and hand all working 
together. If you find that events transpiring 
outside the court are attracting your attention, 
you cannot be watching the ball. Many 
players, even when concentrating, take their 
eye off the ball too soon, with the result 
that it is not properly timed and not hit 
cleanly in the centre of the racket. 

In match play remember that a game is 
never lost until it is won. Never give up 
trying. Matches have been won (you have 
only to read the experiences related in the 
final chapter of this book) after a player has 
had a set and five games to love called 
against her« Therefore, unless the game 
is over, it is never too far gone to be pulled 
out of the fire. Even if your opponent 



42 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

requires only one more stroke to win the 
match, remember how difficult it often is to 
make that one. 

The same applies if you have a good 
lead. Play hard the whole time; never for 
one moment slack off. For if you do it is 
very hard to get going again, and you may 
find yourself caught up and passed at the 
post before you have a chance of getting 
back into your stride. I well remember 
being a set up and five games to one against 
Miss C. M. Wilson (now Mrs. Luard) one 
year at Newcastle, when victory for me 
meant permanent possession of the challenge 
cup. This cup was very valuable, for it 
had a splendid list of names inscribed upon 
it ; it had been going for very many years. 
Miss Wilson seemed so off her game, and 
I was winning so comfortably, that I could 
almost see that cup on my sideboard! But 
it was not to be. (At any rate not that 
year. I was lucky enough to win the Cup 
outright in 1908, when it was even more 



n 

a C.J 



1:^ 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 48 

valuable, as Miss Sutton's name had been 
added.) Whether I unconsciously slacked 
off, thinking the match was mine (which 
is a fatal thing to do at any time), or whether 
Miss Wilson suddenly found her game, is 
impossible for me to say, but she eventually 
won that match and the cup and champion- 
ship for the year. She never gave in, but 
played most pluckily right up to the end. 
I remember another match where the result 
hung in the balance for some time. I was 
playing Miss A. N. G. Greene at East- 
bourne in 1907 ; again the Cup would be 
my own property if I won it. I met Miss 
Greene in the second round. She won the 
first set, and was five games to four in 
the second set, and seven times she only 
wanted one point to win that match. I 
was able to make it five games all. It 
was very bad luck for Miss Greene, as 
the moral effect, after having had seven 
chances of winning the match, was so 
great that it completely put her off her 



44 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

game, and I won that set and the third 
quite easily. 

Be careful also, when you are behind, 
and are slowly but surely catching up your 
opponent, that when you do draw level you 
do not relax your efforts. This danger is 
most insidious, and must be fought against. 
The strain and anxiety involved in catch- 
ing up, and the great relief when you are 
games all, provoke a reaction unless you 
are on your guard. A rest is taken, often 
involuntarily. It is fatal, because before 
you realize it and can get going again your 
opponent has run out a winner. This 
happened to me at Wimbledon in 1908 
against Mrs. Sterry. I was behind the 
whole time, and it was a great relief in the 
second set to hear the score at last called 
five games all. But I had hardly taken 
a breather when Mrs. Sterry secured the 
set by seven games to five. The eleventh 
game I played almost unconsciously, so re- 
lieved was I at getting on even terms, when 



MATCH AND TOUBNAMENT PLAY 45 

I ought to have spared no efibrt to win that 
critical game, even if I had failed. These 
three matches — and I could mention many 
others — show how important it is to play 
hard right up to the last stroke of the 
match, letting nothing put you off, never 
losing your temper, taking umpire's bad 

decisions and all the little annoyances that 
may disturb you in a sportsmanlike manner 
— keeping your whole attention, in fact, 
absolutely concentrated on the game. 

In a single it is best when serving to 
stand as near the centre of the base-line 
as- possible. In this position you have 
greater command of your court, and there 
is not so much scope for your opponent 
to put the ball out of your reach. Miss 
May Sutton, the American lady champion 
and ex-champion of England, in her desire 
to stand as near the centre of the court 
as she possibly can, gets so close that 
umpires find it very difficult to tell whether 
she is serving from the right court or the 



46 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

wrong. In fact» I think I am right in 
saying she has actually been pulled up for 
stepping over the centre line of the base^ 
line. If ypu stand as close as she does 
you are liable to step over the line un- 
consciously. Stand as near the centre line 
as possible, but without any risk of stepping 
over it. On the other hand, there are 
players who prefer to serve from the other 
extreme end. Mr. A. W. Gore, the present 
champion of England, is one of these, but 
personally I cannot see any advantage in 
this position. It seems to leave so much 
open court, of which your adversary will 
not be slow to make use. 

Use the overhead service for choice, but 
have an underhand service ready at your 
command — ^it may come in very useful for 
a change. Remember that a good-length, 
well-placed service is better than a very fast 
one, and much less tiring in a long match. 
Keep your opponent wondering where the 
service will come next ; vary it as much as 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 47 

you possibly can, both as to pace and 
direction. Be sure to make your opponent 
move to take it. 

I have tried the American service, but 
I think the strain is too severe for the 
average girl, and the advantage gained 
would be very slight, for the rest of your 
game would deteriorate, owing to fatigue. 
It places so much tension on all the muscles 
of the body, and I do not think it would 
do a girl's health any good to cultivate it. 
Of course if she were abnormally strong 
and did not feel the efiects of the physical 
efibrt» she would be a tower of strength in 
the land, and her service would be an in- 
valuable one. 

I am not an advocate of persistent volley- 
ing in a lady's single. I think it is too 
great a tax on the physique. Nor do I think 
it pays in the long-run. A voUeyeri to 
my mind, is much easier to play against 
than a base-liner» and most of the first- 
class base-line players agree with me. The 



48 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

great physical exertion entailed in running 
continually to the net will after a time 
make the ground strokes weaker and 
weaker; and you must have good length 
to be able to come up and volley with 
any success. Miss E. W. Thomson (now 
Mrs, Larcombe), one of our best lady 
voUeyers, put up a magnificent game in the 
first set against Miss Sutton at Wimbledon 
in the championship singles of 1905. JShe 
had carefully watched Miss Sutton s game 
and thought out the best way to play hen 
Volleying most judiciously, she would force 
Miss Sutton up to the net with a short 
drop stroke, and theni lobbing over her 
head nearly on to the base-line» take up 
a position at the net, winning the ace with 
a neat cross volley. These tactics she 
repeated again and again, and actually led by 
five games to two. If she could have lasted 
she must have won that match. But she 
could not keep it up. She became obviously 
exhausted, did not get up to the net quickly 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 49 

enough, and her length got shorter and shorter. 
Miss Sutton eventually won that set and the 
next easily. I do not know what would have 
happened if Miss Thomson, when she found 
she was tiring, had stayed back for a little 
while and then resumed her tactics at the 
net. Perhaps she would have come much 
nearer to victory. 

A very large majority of non-voUeyers in 
singles have won the ladies' championship, 
and I think that fact helps to prove my 
argument. Miss Maud Watson, Miss Rice, 
Mrs. Hillyard, the late Miss Robb, Miss 
Sutton, Miss Boothby and myself are 
base-liners. Miss Dod and Mrs. Sterry 
are the only two volley ers. Every girl, 
however, should learn how to volley. 
You may be inveigled up to the net, and 
you should then know how to play and place 
a volley. And you should go up now and 
then on a good-length ball. 

In Doubles of course it is different. I 
think then a girl should volley. It will 

4 



60 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

greatly improve her play all round, and 
will also make the game so much more 
attractive. I think it would be an ex- 
cellent plan if ladies' doubles were always 
played like men's doubles, both players 
moving together and keeping parallel with 
one another, going up to the net together 
and retiring to the back of the court together. 
Competitors would improve their volleying, 
and the double, instead of being the dreary, 
monotonous afiair it is now, especially for 
the base-liner, would be varied and instruc- 
tive. I am sure referees would welcome the 
change with avidity. The much-dreaded, 
interminable ladies' double event would be 
a thing of the past. If we played the double 
with the new formation, perhaps we should 
succeed in re-establishing the event at 
Wimbledon ! But it is very difficult to get 
ladies to volley at a tournament. They 
think they have more chance of winning 
from the back of the court. Perhaps they 
have. But they have much less chance of 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 61 

improving their game and learning a greater 
variety of strokes. 

Miss V. Pinckney started a great work 
in 1908, organizing a ladies' volleying 
league, in which all ladies who entered a 
ladies' doubles event at any tournament 
were obliged to volley. A most successful 
experiment took place at the Beckenham 
tournament. Miss Pinckney and I played 
together at the Reading tournament, and 
although we were both base-liners, we deter- 
mined to go to the net. We found at the 
end of the event (which we won, owing 
fifteen) that we had both much improved 
our volleying. Of course we made endless 
mistakes and were frequently in the wrong 
place, but it was experience so badly re- 
quired. Unfortunately Miss Pinckney, the 
pioneer, did not play much last season, 
and I think the ladies have rather gone 
back to their old ways. It seems a thousand 
pities. 

In Mixed Doubles a girl has a very 



52 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

important part to play. Practically speaking, 
she has to work for all the openings for her 
partner, who comes in and kills. And very 
often if in watching a mixed double you 
are inclined to think the man is doing little 
work, or that he is playing badly, it is 
because his partner is getting him no 
"plums." She is playing a poor length, 
or not keeping the ball out of the reach of 
the opposing man. It is a good plan to 
keep your head well down, and of course 
your eye glued on the ball, until the very 
last moment, so that it makes it difficult 
for the opposing man at the net to tell in 
which direction you are going to hit the 
ball. The late Miss Robb, who was a 
magnificent ^mixed doubles player, used to 
play in this way. Men have told me it 
was impossible to anticipate her returns. 
Keeping your head down will also help 
you from getting flurried or put off, how- 
ever ** jumpy'* the opposing man is, or 
however much he is running across. You 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 68 

can always have a mental vision of him 
to tell you where he is without looking at 
him. 

To play a mixed double you must be 
able to lob. It is really the most necessary 
stroke to cultivate. A very good return of 
the opposing lady's service, when both men 
are at the net, is a lob back to the server. 
It is much safer than lobbing over the 
man's head — if at all short your ball will 
be instantly killed — ^and it also gives your 
partner at the net plenty of time to antici* 
pate any kind of return. It will be diffi- 
cult for the server to return a good-length 
lob out of your partner's reach. The 
opposing man at the net will not be able 
to do anything with this lob — it is quite 
out of his reach — and it would be useless 
for him to run across as he might do for a 
cross drive. It is usually best, I think, for 
a lady to serve down the centre of the court 
in a mixed double. It shuts up the angles 
of the court more, and there is less risk of 



54 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

her partner being passed down his side 
line. 

Do not enter for too many events in a 
tournament. You may get thoroughly worn 
out and not able to do yourself justice in 
any, and you would probably have to play 
when you were very tired — bad for your 
game, and worse still for your partners 
chance in a double. Remember that before 
playing an important match it is very in- 
judicious to watch another game. It is 
likely to put your eye out. If possible, do 
not travel by train just before playing, or 
carry anything heavy, such as your tennis 
bag, for this will make your hand shaky 
and unsteady. 

To sum up, there are five golden rules 
which I have found very helpful to me 
when playing an important match. I give 
them to you in the hope that they may 
prove equally valuable. Always remember 
that constant practice of these rules (will 
make their pursuit natural in a match. 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 56 

!• Keep Your Eye on the Ball 

You have so often been told this, I know, 
and perhaps the familiar ring about the 
advice may evoke contempt. Yet unless this 
rule is implicitly obeyed you cannot expect 
much success at lawn tennis. Taking your 
eye off the ball is the secret of every mis-hit 
and mis-timed stroke. You must not be 
content merely to look at the ball, but 
follow it right on to your racket ; watch it 
up to the actual moment of striking. The 
court and the position of your opponent 
must be mentally engraved at the same 
time. How frequently attentive observation 
will reveal a player lifting his or her eye 
from the ball a fraction too soon ! Always 
be on your guard against this inclination. 
It is at first done almost unconsciously, but 
it soon becomes a habit. 

II. Keep Your Mind on the Game 

This is a most important rule. As I 
have remarked before, complete concentra- 



66 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

tion is absolutely necessary to success. If 
you are worried about anything, business 
or home afiairs, it is bound to afiect your 
game. Think of absolutely nothing but 
the game you are at the moment playing. 
Your whole personality must be absorbed. 
To play the game well demands the use 
not only of limb and muscle, but heart, 
eye, and brain. The first rule will help 
the second, because your attention must be 
more or less fixed on the game if you are 
carefully watching the ball the whole time. 

in. Keep Perfect Control of the 

Temper 

This rule some players will find much 
more difficult than others. You hear of a 
person having the right temperament for 
games, of being naturally imperturbable. 
It is a priceless quality, for to my mind 
it is half the battle if nothing can disturb 
your equanimity. To be calm and placid 
at critical moments, never to get excited or 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 67 

flurried, or in any way put out, whatever 
little worries may turn up — and sometimes 
these worries seem endless and try one to 
the uttermost limit — that is one of the keys 
to fame on court. I think if a good games' 
temperament is not natural to you, it can 
to a great extent be cultivated. But it 
requires much practice and an abundance 
of will-power and self-control. It is a very 
important quality to possess, because to 
lose your temper, or to be upset over any 
trifle, not only puts you off" your game, 
but helps your opponent to take a new 
lease of life and encourages her to play up 
harder than ever. She naturally thinks that 
if you are so upset at something or other 
your game is bound to deteriorate, and she 
will have a much better chance of winnit^ 
the match. 

IV. Keep Your Heart in the Game 

By this I mean do not get easily down- 
hearted and discouraged. Fight^ pluckily to 



I 



58 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

the end, however things are going against 
you. Courage and pluck are wanted above 
all things to carry you successfully through 
your matches. Never say die, however 
hopeless the score may sound against you. 
If you are very done up, try not to make 
it too obvious. Your opponent may be just 
as played out as you are. Seeing your 
signals of distress, she will buoy herself up 
and continue the struggle with renewed hope 
and vigour. 

V. Keep Your Method on the Move 

This maxim is rather difficult to explain. 
What I mean is, you should vary your 
manner of play and re-adapt it in order to 
counteract your opponent. Upset her usual 
game by your tactics. It is always a great 
mistake to keep up a method of attack or 
defence if it is proving unavailing. If 
necessary, keep your own method of play 
continually on the change. A change of 
tactics has often meant st change of fortune 



MATCH AND TOURNAMENT PLAY 69 

in the game. Never let your opponent 
know what you are going to do next ; do 
what she would least expect. Always try 
to make a stroke. Give her plenty of 
the strokes you know she doesn't like. I 
have often felt myself improving an op- 
ponent's weak stroke by pegging away at 
it. It gives her plenty of excellent practice, 
of course, and when you find she is begin- 
ning not to mind it so much, give it a rest. 
When you go back to k you will probably 
find it successful again. Use your brain, 
and always know what you are trying to 
do. Play with an object of attack and 
defence. Do not merely return the ball aim- 
lessly; let each stroke have its little work 
to do to complete the whole victory. This 
is difficult, I know, but it is so much more 
fascinating, and is, I am sure, the way the 
game was meant to be played. There is much 
science that can be brought into lawn tennis, 
always something new to learn. And that is 
the reason why we never tire of playing it. 



CHAPTER IV 
RACKETS, CX)URTS, DRESS, AND TRAINING 

A GOOD lawn tennis racket is indis- 
pensable; indeed, to use a weapon 
of inferior make is to court failure from the 
start. You cannot be too particular to have 
a really well-made racket. Fortunately 
there are now so many good makers that 
it is a players own fault if she is not 
suitably equipped. It may be a little 
more expensive to buy a really first-class 
racket; but the few extra shillings are 
well worth while if you mean to take up 
the game seriously, and to get out of it 
all the enjoyment you can. Personally 
I always play with a *'Slazenger" racket, 

preferring their make to jany others; 

60 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 61 

but there are many other good manufac^ 
turers. 

The weight of your racket should vary 
according to your strength of wrist, and 
should depend on whether you volley or 
play entirely from the back of the court. 
I am inclined to think there is a tendency 
on the part of lady players to use too light 
a racket. I have often seen them with a 
i2^-oz. or 13-OZ. These are too light, and 
may be condemned. If you use a racket 
that is too light, it means that the maker 
has not been able to string it as tightly 
as it ought to be strung — the frame would 
not stand the tension. I do not think a 
racket should be lighter than 13^ oz., which 
is the normal weight for ladies. Myself, 
I prefer and always play with a 14-oz., 
and hold that unless there is a weakness 
of the wrist, or some personal reason 
why the player should knock off the 
extra half-ounce, this weight is the best 
for ladies to use. I like my racket 



62 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

slightly weighted in the head, but I think 
most players prefer one evenly balanced. 
The Jatter may be recommended to a be- 
ginner. 

The handle should be about five inches in 
circumference — at least, that is what I use 
and recommend for a natural and easy grip. 
Of course the circumference must vary a 
little according to the size of the player's 
hand or length of her fingers, but I counsel 
all ladies to fight shy of the handle that is 
abnormally large. I am quite sure it is a 
mistake; it tends to tire and stiffen the 
hand. Endeavour to standardize your re- 
quirements. Find out by careful trial what 
weight, what size of handle, and what 
stringing suits your game best; and then 
you will find, when you use a new racket 
for the first time, that the tool is familiar 
and has a friendly influence over your 
strokes. What more embarrassing experi- 
ence than to play a match with a racket 
you cannot recognize? 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 68 

You should always take a wet-weather 
racket with you when you go to tourna- 
ments ; it is, like a pair of steel-pointed 
shoes, a necessary item in your tennis bag. 
In England, with such variable weather, it 
is necessary to play in the rain, or at any 
rate on a wet ground, and with sodden 
balls; and the very best gut in the world 
cannot stand rough usage. It is a good 
plan, too, to take to tournaments at least 
two rackets as much alike as possible. If 
anything goes wrong with one, you will 
have a good substitute, one that is not 
strange to you. 

Always take great care of your rackets. 
They are very susceptible both to damp 
and excessive dry heat, and should always 
be kept in a press when not in use. A 
warped frame is fatal. If you do not use 

* 

a tennis bag, your racket should be pro- 
tected in a waterproof case. It is a good 
plan, after use in the wet, to rub the surface 
of the strings with a little beeswax or 



64 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

varnish. Most makers keep a special pre- 
servative in stock. 

And now for a few remarks on dress. 
There has been a great improvement 
during the last few years in the costumes 
worn by those who take part in tour- 
naments held all over the country. First- 
class players know from experience how to 
dress to be most comfortable and least 
hampered by their clothing. But the less 
experienced are wont to appear in a 
"garden-party" trailing skirt, trimmed hat 
and dressy blouse — a, most unbusiness-like 
costume for the game. It is essential to 
remember that you want, above everything 
else, free use of all your limbs ; physical 
action must not be impeded in any way by 
your clothing. An overhead ball which may 
require your arm to be extended as far as it 
will go, a low volley at the net where you 
must bend down, a run across the court or 
up to the net — all these strokes you must be 
able to perform with freedom and facility. 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 66 

I advise a plain gored skirt — not pleated ; 
I think these most unsuitable on court — 
about four or five inches from the ground. 
It should just clear your ankles and have 
plenty of fullness round the hem. Always 
be careful that the hem is quite level all 
round ; nothing is more untidy than a skirt 
that dips down at the back or sides — drop- 
ping at the back is a little trick a cotton 
skirt cultivates when it comes home from 
the laundry. A plain shirt without '* frills 
or furbelows " — if any trimming at all, tucks 
are the neatest — a collar, tie, and waist- 
band, go to make an outfit as comfortable 
and suitable as you could possibly desire. 

The material that this plain shirt and 
skirt is made of does not so much matter, 
and must be according to the taste of the 
wearen Serge, flannel, and cotton are the 
most popular, and the last predominates. 
White is undoubtedly the best colour to 
wear. It washes well and does not fade, 
and looks very much neater on the court 

5 



66 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

than a coloured material. I prefer white 
shoes and stockings, for I think it looks 
nicer to be in one uniform colour. But 
this is a matter of taste. Some people 
urge that white shoes make your feet ap- 
pear much bigger than black or brown. 
I do not agree. If you are wearing a 
white skirt, the black or brown shoe must 
show up more distinctly against it than a 
shoe of the same colour. 

I have also heard it decided that when 
girls are compelled to play in the rain or 
on dreadfully muddy courts, as unfortu- 
nately they often are, it is better for 
them to don a dark skirt of thicker mate- 
rial. This seems to me a great mistake. 
A white skirt will wash well, and it does 
not matter how dirty it gets ; so long as 
you do not have it trailing in the mud it 
cannot come to much harm. It looks as 
neat as anything can look that is surrounded 
by rain and mud. A dark stuff skirt, on 
the other hand, which many players use 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 67 

in wet weather, does not wash, and is ab- 
solutely ruined after a soaking. Moreover, 
it is twice as heavy to drag about the 
court. 

If you do not happen to have steel- 
pointed shoes with you, and are called upon 
to play in the wet, it is a good plan to 
wear a pair of men's thick shooting stock- 
ings or socks over your tennis shoes. It 
is wonderful what a firm grip they give 
without in any way impeding your move- 
ments. 

I find, after having tried nearly every 
sort of shoe for tennis, that the simple 
white gymnasium shoe suits me best. 
Most players use a proper tennis shoe or 
boot with a thick sole. I have tried these, 
but find they make me much slower in 
court and are not as comfortable as the 
'* gym " shoe. Some people say the thicker 
sole is less tiring to the feet, but I find 
I am much less foot-weary after a match 
when playing in the thin shoe — there is 



68 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

less weight to cany about. Of course 
thin soles soon wear through, but then 
they have the advantage of being very 
cheap. I pay half a crown a pair for mine, 
and one can have several pairs in use and 
can always replace them without any great 
expense. 

I think it is best, if you can, to play with- 
out any hat at all. There is not the bother 
of keeping it on, and it is much cooler. 
Nor is it easy to find a suitable hat for 
lawn tennis. A girl's hair is generally a 
good safeguard against sunstroke. A long 
warm coat is a very necessary article of 
wearing apparel, especially for girls who 
are playing in tournaments. It should be 
put on immediately after a strenuous match, 
however hot the day. There is the great 
danger when overheated of contracting a 
chilL The coat should be of a thick warm 
material — ^blanket is very popular and ser- 
viceable — ^and it should reach to the end 
of your skirt, if not beyond. 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 69 

I do not think it is wise to wear bracelets 
when playing unless they are plain and tight 
to the wrist. Although you might not think 
it, ornaments, however small, can and do 
get in your way. I remember one match 
that was entirely lost because of the presence 
of a gold curb bracelet with a small dangling 
chain attached. Putting up her hand to 
adjust a hairpin, the owner did not know 
that the chain had caught on to her fringe- 
net, and, bringing her hand down quickly, 
the fringe-net and most of the hairpins were 
dragged from her hair. The result was that 
the player, who might easily have left the 
court and fixed up her hair again firmly, 
adjusted it as best she could, her hair 
blowing about in all directions. In between 
every stroke she had to clutch wildly at 
stray portions that blew across her face 
and into her eyes. This diversion naturally 
upset her game, and I think that was the 
last time she wore a bracelet in court. 

Training formatchplay is rather a difficult 



70 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

subject for me to write about, for I have 
never gone in for proper "training." The 
great secret is to keep perennially fit Re- 
member that an important match is a great 
strain, a challenging test of stamina. To 
come through the ordeal successfully you 
must be in a good condition of health. If 
you are not, you ought not to be playing. 
Personally I know what it means to play 
an important match when feeling really ill. 
Honestly it is not worth it. It is no en- 
joyment to yourself, and it is no pleasure 
to your opponent to beat you when she 
knows you are unfit. Besides, it is very 
injurious to your own health. On the other 
hand, if you are in good condition, and 
leading a healthy outdoor life, a well-con- 
tested match cannot harm you ; it is most 
beneficial in every way. Therefore I think 
the best training for an important match 
is to be always in * ' training " ; not to have 
to alter your habits before a match is the 
secret. To change your diet and mode 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 71 

of living suddenly, as some players do, is 
more calculated to upset you than to make 
you fitter for the ordeal. Common sense 
must of course be used. For instance, you 
should not eat a heavy meal just before 
playingf. I generally prefer bread -and- 
cheese, a milk pudding of some sort, and 
perhaps a little fruit for lunch if I have 
a match in the afternoon. I find this diet 
very satisfying and sustaining, and of course 
much lighter than meat. Bananas or apples 
go very well with the cheese. As I like this 
sort of lunch at any time, I do not have to 
change my diet materially before a match. 
After the day's play is over, I make abso- 
lutely no difference, eating for dinner in the 
evening whatever is going. Lunch is the 
chief meal over which care should be exer- 
cised, for important matches generally begin 
about two o'clock. A heavy meal would 
make me slow and sleepy. I know of one 
well-known player who never has any break- 
fast at all. She may play hard matches all 



7« LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

the morningi and when the luncheon interval 
arrives she has only bread-and-cheese and 
fruit. Of course this is a very exceptional 
case, and I should not care to try it myself. 
I find a good breakfast a necessity before 
a long and hard day at a tournament. But 
the no-breakfast regime certainly suits the 
player in question. She is always *' fit," 
and has great stamina, coming through 
exhausting matches without showing the 
slightest sign of distress. I need not add 
that sleep is one of the chief factors for 
making you feel buoyant and well ; if you 
have not had your right measure of sleep 
the night before an important contest, you 
are greatly handicapped. Remember, too, 
how necessary it is to sleep in a well- 
ventilated room with the windows open. 

As to Courts, there are so many surfaces 
now used for the game, such as grass, wood, 
asphalt, cement, gravel, and sand, that it is 
possible to play the game all the year round, 
under cover or out in the open. I think. 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 78 

however, most players will agree with me 
that a good grass court is the ideal surface 
for lawn tennis. The sensation of playing a 
genuinely hard match with evenly balanced 
players on a good grass court, under ideal 
weather conditions, has only to be ex- 
perienced to be appreciated. It is then 
you realize what great enjoyment this g^ame 
gives to any one who loves it. Alas! the 
really good grass court and ideal weather 
are very hard to get in England. I suppose 
there was scarcely a day in 1 909 that could 
be described as perfect for lawn tennis ; 
and our good grass courts are few and far 
between. 

The climate we cannot control, but I often 
wonder why there should be such a dearth 
of true grass courts at open meetings. Of 
course maintenance involves a certain 
amount of expense, but surely many clubs 
are quite well enough off to command at 
least one or two really good courts. Can it 
be ignorance, or is it a want of necessary 



74 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

energy and constant attention ? Lawn tennis 
seems to suffer in this respect more than most 
games. There are hundreds of splendid 
golf greens and cricket pitches all over the 
country, but for some inexplicable reason a 
good grass lawn tennis court is, as Mr. G. W. 
Hillyard has remarked, "almost as rare 
a sight as a dead donkey/' Happily we 
get this rare spectacle at Wimbledon under 
Mr. Hillyard's able care and management. 

What a difference a general improvement 
in surface would mean !. I am convinced 
that if courts were better the standard of 
play would advance more rapidly. It is 
marvellous what beneficial efifect a good 
court has on play. I have seen an average 
player, who had always played on bad courts, 
with cramped surroundings and poor back* 
ground, put up a really good game the very 
first time he played on a first-class court — 
I refer to a well-known private coyrt at 
Thorpe Satchville, perhaps the best in the 
country. That player surprised himself and 



RACKETS, COURTS, DRESS, TRAINING 76 

every one else present. He performed about 
half-thirty better than his usual game. The 
moral is that if other players had the oppor- 
tunity of playing regularly on a true and 
fast court they must essentially improve. 
On bad courts you can never be sure what 
the ball will do ; it is a toss-up whether you 
get a false bound or not. A player once 
told me that he thought it a good thing to 
have these bad courts at your house or 
club to practise upon. When you went to 
tournaments, he argued, you would not mind 
what you found there, as the conditions could 
not be worse, and might be better, and 
you would always be in the happy frame 
of mind of not expecting too much and 
never being disappointed. Your game woitld 
not be put off by depressing conditions — 
you were so used to them ! But that is 
poor logic. After all, we play the game 
for pleasure, and there can be no enjoy- 
ment in playing on wretched courts. Many 
unfortunate players, if they wish to play 



76 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

the game at all, are forced to play on what 
Mr. Mahony used to call '' cabbage patches" 
— {** Sorry, partner, it hopped on a cabbage,** 
was his favourite expression after missing a 
ball in a double) ; but I cannot understand 
any one voluntarily choosing such a surface. 
A wood floor has such an absolutely true 
bound that it must provide very good prac- 
tice, and one winter's play on the indoor 
courts at Queen's Club is to my mind a 
quicker way of improving your game than 
two or three seasons on grass courts which 
are not of the best. These covered wood 
courts are very scarce, and it is a thousand 
pities there are so few of them. Would 
that this winter game were in the reach 
of everybody ! On the other hand, you can 
overdo the game by playing continuously* 
and if you have been playing all through 
the summer with scarcely a break, it is a 
good plan to rest during the winter months, 
taking up some other game to keep your 
eye in and your condition fit. 



RACKETS, COURTO, DRESS, TRAINING T7 

Since true grass courts are so scarce in this 
country, I sometimes wish we could dispense 
with turf altogether, and have at our tourna- 
ments the same surface which finds favour 
abroad, at places like Cannes, Homburg, 
and Dinard. The bound of the ball on 
these courts is absolutely uniform, the sur- 
face being hard sand. One great advantage 
they possess — ^we should welcome it over 
here — is that when it rains play is quite out 
of the question. Wading about in the mud 
and playing in a steady downpour, often 
our lot in England, is unknown on the 
Continent. And foreign courts also dry 
quickly after rain, and often play better for 
their watering. 



CHAPTER V 
TOURNAMENT AND CLUB MANAGEMENT 

I WISH an "Order of Play" could be 
used more at English tournaments. 
That is to say, I wish matches could be 
arranged to take place at a certain hour, 
following the plan adopted at Wimbledon 
and at all the meetings on the Continent. 
Such an arrangement would greatly add to 
the comfort and enjoyment of competitors, 
and would, I imagine, be a great boon to 
the referee. Spectators, I know, would 
welcome it I think a time-table might 
prove unworkable where handicap events 
are concerned, but in the case of open 
events I feel sure it could be introduced 
with great advantage to all concerned. I 

have so often sat hour after hour at a 

78 



TOURNAMENTS AND CLUBS 79 

London tournament {having only entered 
for the open events), perhaps playing one 
match, perhaps not playing at all. If I 
had been told overnight that I should not 
be wanted, or exactly at what hour my 
match would take place, it would have been 
so much more satisfactory and saved so 
much wasted time. This waiting about 
takes away half the pleasure of playing 
in London meetings. Even if there are 
good matches going on you do not care to 
watch them incessantly ; there may be a 
chance of your playing off a tie, and it 
would tend to put your eye out. On 
one occasion, having a long way to go 
to a tournament in which I was only 
entered for the open mixed doubles, I 
telephoned to know whether I should be 
wanted or not. " Well," replied the referee, 
"if I call you and you are not on the 
ground, I shall scratch you. In your own 
interest you had better come over." For 
my partner's sake, as well as my own, I 



80 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

was bound to go. As I expected, I sat 
the whole afternoon and evening doing 
absolutely nothing. When I begged to be 
allowed to play, as I had come some dis* 
tance for this one match, the referee examined 
his programme and said, " Oh, it is quite 
impossible to-day. They have not played 
the round in front of you yet ! " 

This sort of thing implies gross mismanage- 
ment, besides resulting in unnecessary wear 
and tear for the competitors. If there was 
an order of play arranged for each day, all 
the bother would be obviated. I believe 
that business men who cannot get away 
in the early afternoon have their matches 
timed and arranged for them. Why are 
not all competitors treated alike ? 

While I am on this subject of "waiting 
about," let me say that I think ladies do not 
take nearly enough care of themselves after 
playing. They ought to wrap up well if they 
have not time to change before their next 
match. Men are much more careful. They 



TOURNAMENTS AND CLUBS 81 

put on their coats immediately they leave the 
court, and change their clothes as soon as 
they can. But you will see girls chatting 
after a match, and even having tea, without 
deigning to put on an extra wrap. It is 
courting disaster. The colds and more 
dangerous ailments that arise from this little 
want of care naturally afford people a line 
of attack when they object to girls engaging 
in violent exercise. 

You cannot be too careful after strenuous 
play. I am well aware that ladies are 
catered for very badly at most of the 
tournaments in regard to changing-room 
accommodation. Some places we have had 
to put up with are disgraceful. I think 
most lady players will agree with me when 
I say that Wimbledon and Queen's Club 
are about the only two grounds where 
you can change with any degree of com- 
fort. This is not right, and I am sure if 
men had to experience the changing-room 

accommodation afforded for our use there 
6 



ai LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

would not be many of them competing at 
tournaments. I think the two dubs I have 
mentioned are the only two where we even 
get a bathroom 1 Some tournaments pro- 
vide a draughty tent for our use. More- 
over, there is generally only one dressing- 
room, and feminine spectators often crowd 
round the one looking-glass, staring at the 
players as if they were animals on show ! 
It is sometimes even impossible to sit down 
to rest after a hard and tiring contest. 

I appeal to secretaries of tournaments for 
some reform. A number of lady players 
have asked me to use this opportunity to 
point out some of our most pressing griev- 
ances. I hope these remarks, which are 
none too strong, may bear fruit. Visitors 
who come over from other countries are 
always loud in their complaints, and I am 
not surprised. I believe • the Beckenham 
authorities are doing all they can to impart 
a little more comfort to the ladies' chang- 
ing and resting-room, and they have greatly 



|3 
P 



TOURNAMENTS AND CLUBS 88 

improved their accommodation. It is time 
other meetings followed their example. At 
the seaside meetings it does not so much 
matter. Most of the players stay near the 
ground and can go to their own rooms and 
be back in time to play again, if necessary ; 
but in London tournaments, where there is 
often a long drive or train journey before 
one reaches home, it is most important that 
there should be a good changing-room. 

There is another improvement which I 
feel sure would be greatly welcomed by 
competitors, and that is a separate tea-tent 
for their use. Often a player has only a 
few minutes to get her tea, and, with the 
general public engaged in the same amiable 
pursuit, she is not able to be served and has 
to go away tealess. If there were a com- 
petitors' tea-tent, a player could obtain her 
tea in comfort when she wanted it. 

Always bear in mind that a referee at a 
tournament has a most ** worrying time of 
it.'' Players can and should help to make 



84 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

his task lighten There are many ways in 
which they can assist to make the tourna- 
ment as successful as possible. One is by 
being punctual and ready dressed to play 
when wanted, and another is by umpiring 
when they are disengaged and have not an 
important match just coming on. '' Taking 
the chair" may help them not to dispute 
an umpire's decision when they are in court 
themselves. They will realize how difficult 
umpiring is, and that bad as umpires often 
are they are doing their best To dispute a 
decision or to argue with the umpire never 
helps matters ; it usually makes him nervous. 
A bad decision must be taken as a fortune of 
war, and borne in a sportsmanlike manner. 
But you must never allow the crowd to 
influence the umpire. It is a hopeless 
expedient, for many people who watch 
matches are ignorant of the rules of the 
game. 

Sometimes — I suppose it is Hobson's 
choice — an umpire is chosen from the 



TOURNAMENTS AND CLUBS 85 

"gate." If he knows little or nothing of 
his duties the result is disastrous. Should 
there be difficulty in getting an umpire who 
knows something of his work, I think the 
match should take care of itself. I have 
experienced umpires who do not even know 
how to score ! 

And now a word or two about Clubs. 
It is very difficult to manage a lawn tennis 
club successfully ; much tact is required. I 
think it is almost impossible to prevent a 
club being ** cliquey," and I should always 
advise a player who wishes to improve her 
game to join one which is more concerned 
with its tennis than its social side. Some 
clubs still use the game for a garden- 
party, where long trailing skirts, sunshades, 
and basket chairs predominate. Perhaps 
a game or two is played in the cool of 
the evening. That sort of club should be 
avoided if you are a keen and enthusiastic 
player. 

The committee of a club should be a 



86 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

small one, consisting of members who are 
devoted to the best interests of the game. 
Their aim should be to keep in touch with 
all the latest developments, and above all 
to keep up to date, advancing with the 
times. A committee sometimes embraces 
old supporters of the club who have been 
members for years and years. They have 
old-fashioned ideas, are very conservative, 
and do not like innovations of any sort, 
even if changes are obviously necessary 
for the benefit of the game. A committee 
should see that their dub has a good match- 
card, for inter-club contests are excellent 
practice for the members, and there is 
nothing like fostering a spirit of friendly 
rivalry. Care should be taken to choose 
players who make a good pair and combine 
well together. A committee should dp all 
in its power to improve the standard of 
play, and that can only be accomplished 
by having well-tended courts and good 
balls. Many clubs are not equipped with 



\i 



TOURNAMENTS AND CLUBS 87 

side-posts for the single game. That is a 
great mistake, because a player will practise 
without them in her club, and then when 
she enters for a tournament will have to 
use them. It is bound to put her off her 
game. Such details make all the difference 
between good and bad management of a 
club. 

It is an excellent plan for members of 
the committee to drop in at some of the 
tournaments and see how things are done 
there. Developments may have occurred 
of which they know nothing, and they could 
pick up many a wrinkle by a tour of in- 
spection. Before one secretary of a fairly 
large tournament went to Wimbledon he 
had never seen a canvas background. 



I 



CHAPTER VI 
SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 

HAVE been asked to write what I 



can remember of my earliest tennis 
days. This is rather difficult, as it is now 
thirteen years since I entered for my first 
tournament in 1896. It is never easy or 
pleasant to write one's own biography, but 
I have been assured that readers will be 
interested to heaf something of my career 
in court. 

I have said that 1896 was the first year 
I entered for a tournament, which is quite 
true ; but I always reckon that my tourna- 
ment experience did not really start until 
the year 1898, because in the two previous 
years I only entered for one tournament 
(The Gipsy), and only in the handicap at 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 89 

that, and I came out first round. In 1898 
I played in three tournamentSi and in more 
events at each one. 

My earliest recollections of a racket and 
tennis ball go back to when I was quite 
small. My greatest amusement was to play 
up against a brick wall, with numerous 
dolls and animals of all kinds as spec- 
tators — really as big a gate as we get now 
at some tournaments! Each toy in turn 
was chosen as my opponent. Needless to 
say, I always won these matches. My 
adversaries took very little interest in the 
proceedings. This was some years before 
I even played in a court, and I think it 
was a very good way of starting the 
game. 

I then played in a court we had at home, 
which was not very good ; gooseberry bushes 
prevented our running outside the court 
at all. I next joined a club at Ealing 
Common, and at the age of eleven won 
my first prize, the Handicap Singles at our 



90 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

club tournament. Of course I was receiv- 
ing enormous points, and I remember to 
this day how bored the best lady players 
in the club were when they had to pky 
me. My game then, from all accounts, 
involved a sequence of very high lobs. I 
am now quite envious of the accuracy of 
my lobbing in those days. I had abso- 
lutely no pace, but was active and very 
steady, and desperately serious and keen 
about the game. At this time also I used 
to play at college, preferring tennis to 
cricket, which was the exception. Cricket 
was the great game. Tennis was pushed 
into the background, and very little in- 
terest was taken in it, even when the 
matches were played to decide the winner 
of the racket presented each year to the 
best player in the school by some kind 
parent. I won this racket one year, but 
could never use it, as it was heavily 
weighted with an enormous silver shield 
on which was a lengthy inscription. Of 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 91 

course the balance of the racket was abso- 
lutely upset 

There was not much chance of improv- 
ing at school, because nobody took the 
trouble to have the court or net of the 
right dimensions. The rules of the game 
were not even known. Every ball that 
touched the line was given out. I remem- 
ber a very heated argument I had with a 
mistress who was umpiring a match for me, 
the result of which was that I had lines to 
write for impertinence! 

In 1899 I joined the Ealing Lawn Tennis 
Club, and won the singles championship 
cup three years in succession, thus keeping 
it for my own property. At one time 
Mrs. Hillyard and Mrs. Sterry had both 
been members of this same club. Curiously 
enough, Mrs. Hillyard, Mrs. Sterry, Miss 
Sutton, and myself have all lived, at dif- 
ferent periods of our lives, very close 
together — Mrs. Hillyard at Greenford, Mrs, 
Sterry and myself at Ealing, and Miss 



M LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

Sutton at Acton. I think about this time 
I very much improved my game by con- 
stantly playing singles against the best men 
in the club, and also doubles with three 
men. This was undoubtedly excellent 
practice for me. 

In 1898 I won my first prizes in open 
tournaments, the handicap singles at Chis* 
wick Park and Queen's Club. At Chiswick 
I received 154, and met Miss C Cooper 
in the semi-final. I remember quite well 
my " stage fright " when I went into court 
against this famous player, even at the 
tremendous odds of owe 15.3 and give 15.4. 
I lost the first set easily, and the game 
was then postponed until the next day 
owing to failing light. After that first set, 
a friend said to me, ** If you could only 
forget it's Miss Cooper, I am certain you 
could win." The next day I tried to follow 
out this advice, and eventually won the 
match with the score of 3/6, 6/1, 6/4. At 
Queen's I met Miss C. Cooper again. 



■H&'' 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 98 



She was owing 40 and I was receiv- 
ing 2/6. I again managed to win» this 
time in two sets, 6/2, 6/3. At Eastbourne 
the same year, my third tournament, I was 
in the second-class handicap owing 15, and 
survived a few rounds. Miss C. M. Wilson 
was also in the second class at 4/6, but we 
did not meet Miss A. M. Morton, Miss 
A. N. G. Greene, Miss Garfit, Miss Robb, 
Mrs. Hillyard, Miss Dyas, Miss Austin, 
and Miss C. Cooper were in the first class. 
The classification for that year (1898) was: 



Miss C. Cooper Scratch 

Miss Austin 

Miss Dyas 

Mrs. liillyard 

Miss Martin 

Miss Steedman 



1/6 



2/6 



Mrs. Pickeringl 
Miss Robb J 

Miss Garfit 
Mrs. Kirby 
Miss Legh 



3/6 



4/6 



The first player of any repute that I beat 
in Open Singles was Miss £• R. Morgan, 
whom I defeated in 1899 at Chiswick 
Park. I was beaten in the next round by 
Miss B. Tulloch after a severe tussle. I 



94 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

again won the Handicap Singles at Queen's. 
I was on the scratch mark, the fa^rthest 
back I had yet been. Miss Austin was 
back-marker at owe 30.3. 

The classification for 1899 was : 



} 



Mra.Hniyard .„ 
Miss Martin ^^*="*** 
Miss ۥ Cooperl 
Miss Austin J ' 
Mrs. Durlacher 2/6 
Mrs. Pickering 3/6 



MissM. E. Robb 4/6 
Miss Steedman 5/6 

Miss Bromfield^ 
Mrs. Kirby I 15 
Miss Tulloch j 



In 1900 Miss Marion Jones, then Ameri- 
can lady champion, came over to England. 
I played one of the most exhausting 
matches against her that I have ever ex- 
perienced. It was at Queen's Club in the 
Handicap Singles. I was owing 3/6 and 
Miss Jones receiving 3/6. There was a 
good deal of discussion at the time about 
this match, and in spite of the tremendous 
heat (we do not get such summers now) 
we were persuaded to go inta court. In 
truth it was a gruelling day. I remember 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 96 

men walked about the streets fanning them* 
selves. We played for hours in a blazing 
sun, and I eventually won, the score being 
8/10, 6/2, 7/5. After the match Miss 
Jones was taken to the dressing-room in 
a fainting condition, and when I reached 
home I had an attack of sunstroke, and had 
my head packed in ice. The umpire I was 
also seriously ill for some time. It was only 
the international element in the game and 
the controversy about the relative points that 
made us fight it out to the bitter end. 

We both thoroughly agreed with the 
notice of this match which appeared in 
Lawn Tennis the following week : 

** The ladies had- their example of 
untiring efibrt and splendid patience 
in the second round of the Handicap 
Singles, when Miss Marion Jones, the 
American champion (receive 3/6) met 
Miss D. K. Douglass (owe 3/6). The 
tie was played off under exceptionally 
trying circumstances. A fiercely hot 



96 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

sun was pouring its rays on the court, 
and there was scarcely a breath of air, 
yet for 2^ hours, without hats, did 
these ladies strive for mastery. The 
first set fell to Miss Jones after 18 
games had been played. The second 
was secured by Miss Douglass with 
comparative ease, neither the odds nor 
the previous exertions appearing to 
affect her. The third set brought out 
a remarkable display of patience, de- 
termination, and cool judgment, for 
when it stood out at 5 games to i in 
Miss Jones's favour, Miss Douglass 
won the next 6 games right off, each 
game being fought out with great re- 
solution. It may be doubted whether 
either for tennis' sake or * kudos' 
such a contest under such conditions 
is wise. I was not surprised to hear 
it mentioned that not only had both 
competitors severely felt the strain, but 
that even the umpire had suffered." 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 97 

This year (1900) it is interesting to 
note that the champion of to«day, Miss 
D. Boothby, won the Handicap Singles at 
Beckenham, receiving 15.4. This year, too, 
saw my first appearance at Wimbledon. I 
was not in the lists very long, meeting Miss 
L. Martin first round. I do not think the 
game lasted long, and I have only a very 
faint recollection of it; but I remember 
thinking Miss Martin's strokes were the 
finest I had ever seen. At Eastbourne a 
couple of months later I was lucky enough 
to meet Miss C. Cooper on a very off day 
and run her close in the open singles* 
The match caused quite a sensation. We 
started rather late, in the tea interval, and 
nobody took the least interest in what was 
considered a foregone conclusion. How- 
ever, when it got abroad that Miss Cooper 
had actually lost the first set, people came 
hurrying round the court in great consterna- 
tion lest Miss Cooper, whom they all knew 
so well, should go down to a player who 
7 



96 



LAWN TENNIS FOR LA] 



%U'J< 



was quite unknown ; I had been in the 
second class only the year before. Miss 
Cooper eventually secured the match, 3/6, 
9/7> 9/7- I ^^^ Mrs. Sterry on many sub- 
sequent occasions before I could get any* 
thing like so close to her. I really used 
to get quite weary of being beaten by her. 
When the Handicap Singles came out the 
day after this match I was put to owe 
15 in the first class, which pleased me 
immensely. Miss Robb, Mrs. Greville, and 
Miss C. Cooper were owe 15.3 and Mrs. 
Hillyard owe 30. I was in the classification 
for the first time at the end of this year. 

Mrs. Hillyard Scratch Miss Bromfield 

Mrs. Evered 
Miss C. Hill [5/6 

Miss Longhurst 
Mrs. Winch 
Miss Lane 
Miss A. M. Morton ■ 
MissTuUoch j^^ 

Miss D. K. Douglass j 

In 1 90 1 I won my first Challenge Cup in 



Miss C. Cooper 


1/6 


Miss Martin 


■2/6 

a 


Mrs. Greville 


Mrs. Pickering 


3/6 


Miss Robb 


4/6 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 99 



an open tournament, beating Mrs. Greville 
in the challenge round at Beckenham. Mrs. 
Greville's defeat came as a great surprise to 
every one. It was her third year for the cup, 
and this may have accounted for her being 
much below her usual form. I had certainly 
improved a great deal, even in that one week, 
for I had had a hard match every day, meeting 
Miss TuUoch, Miss Morton, and Countess 
Schulenberg (with whom I had a tremendous 
three-set match) in the preceding rounds. 
Mrs. Greville, on the other hand, had been 
standing out — ^the custom at Beckenham, one 
that I personally always find a great disadvant- 
age. I was easily beaten this year at Wimble- 
don by Mrs. Sterry. Classification for 1901 : 



Mrs. Sterry Scratch 
Mrs. Hillyard 1 
Miss Martin j ' 

Miss D. K. Douglass 2/6 
Mrs. Durlacher 
Mrs. Greville 
Mrs. Pickering 
Miss Robb 



3/6 



Miss Lowther 
Miss A. M. Morton 
Miss Thomson 
Mrs. Winch 
Mrs. Evered 
Miss Lane 
Miss Longhurst 
Miss Tulloch 



}4/6 
}s/6 



15 



100 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

At Wimbledon, in 1902, I had two very 
strenuous matches, which improved my 
game immensely. The first, against Mrs. 
Durlacher, I just won. The second, against 
the late Miss Robb, I just lost, after one 
of the closest matches I have ever played. 
Miss Robb won the championship this year. 
It was a great fight ; and though of course 
it is hard to judge, I always feel I played 
in that game as well as I have ever played. 
The score in Miss Robb's favour was 6/4, 
2/^» 9/7- Thus we both won seventeen 
games. This year I paid my first visit to 
Newcastle, a tournament which I always 
look forward to and enjoy as much as any 
meeting. The management is all one can 
desire, the people so keen and hospitable. 
I had a good hard fight with Mrs. Sterry, 
losing 7/5, 7/5, and winning with her the 
Ladies' Doubles cups. At Brighton I was 
again beaten by Mrs. Sterry, although 
managing this time to get a set At East- 
bourne the following week I won my first 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 101 



match against Mrs. S terry in Open Singles, 
the score being 5/7, 6/2, 6/3. I was simply 
delighted, after so many reverses, to win 
a match against this player. I had been 
beaten so often by her, and sometimes felt 
as though I never should be rewarded by 
a victory to my credit. The classification 
of players for 1 902 was as follows : 



Miss Robb 
Mrs. Sterry 



} 



Scratch 



Miss D.K. Douglass' 
Miss L. Martin \ 1/6 
Miss Longhurst 



Mrs. Hillyard 
Miss H. Lane 



}2/6 



Miss A. M. Morton ^ 
Miss Greville 
Miss Steedman 
Mrs. Durlacher 
Miss C. M. Wilson 
Miss Lowther 
Miss Bromfield 

Miss Thomson 
Mrs. Pickering 



•3/6 



}4/6 



In 1903 I paid my first visit to the 
Northern tournament, held at Manchester 
that year. I won the All England Mixed 
Doubles Championship with Mr. F. L. 
Riseley, and was beaten in the challenge 
round of the Ladies' Singles by Miss L. 



lot LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

Martin after a very hard struggle : 4/6, 7/5, 
6/4. It seemed a great pity that Miss 
Martin was not able to play at Wimbledon 
that year. It was a lean year, and for me 
a lucky one, for with so many of the best 
players not competing for the championship 
(Mrs, Hillyard, Mrs. Sterry, Miss Robb, 
and Miss Martin were all absentees) I was 
given a chance of winning the coveted 
title. I met Miss E. W. Thomson in the 
final, who had beaten Miss Morton and 
Miss Wilson in the preceding rounds. I 
had had a good fight against Miss Lowther 
before reaching the final. Although I was 
expected to beat Miss Thomson, and ac- 
tually did win the match, I scarcely deserved 
my triumph. Miss Thomson played by far 
the better tennis, and it was really very 
hard luck on her that she did not succeed. 
At one time she was a set up and four 
games to one, and I was forced to play 
on the defensive nearly the whole time. 
Miss Thomson played beautifully, placing 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES lOS 

with great accuracy down the lines and 
across the court. Indeed, her placing was so 
good that I always seemed to be yards away 
from her return, when I had thought there 
was plenty of time to get to the ball. It has 
always been a marvel to me how I won that 
match; but I think it was chiefly condition — 
Miss Thomson was never a very good stayer. 
By the way, Miss Thomson and I were 
introduced to each other at the Gipsy Tour- 
nament — my first tournament. I had no 
partner for the Ladies' Doubles Handicap, 
and the secretary put us together on the 
programme. Little did I dream then that 
we should one day fight out the final of 
the Championship on the centre court at 
Wimbledon, or as a pair twice win the All 
England Doubles Championship. Classifi- 
cation for 1903 : 



Miss D. K. Douglass) | 
Miss L. Martin J | 
Miss E. W. Thomson^ 
Miss Lowther J ' 



}2/6 



Miss C. M. Wilson 
Miss Greene 
Miss Morton 1 

Miss Longhurst J ^' 



104 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 



Miss Bromfidd \ Miss Kendal 

Miss H. Lane 4/6 Mrs. Housdander ^5/6 

Mrs Greville ) Miss Stawell-Brown^ 

In 1904 I again won the championship, 
beating Mrs. Sterry in the challenge round. 
This year and 1 906 >ere my most successful 
years. I was fortunate enough in both to 
go through the season without a reverse in 
open singles. Classification for 1904 was as 
follows : 



Miss D. K. Douglass 

Scratch 



Mrs. Sterry 

Mrs. Hillyard [1/6 

Miss C. M. Wilson J 



I, 



Miss Thomson 
Miss Morton 

Miss W. Longhurst 
Miss V. Pinckney 
Miss Greene 
Miss Lane 



|2/6 



3/6 



Mrs. Greville 
Miss Stawell Brown 
Mrs. Winch 
Miss Garfit 
Miss Kendal 
Miss D. Boothby 
Miss M. Coles 
Miss A. Ransome 
Miss E. Longhurst ' 
Miss Squire 
MissEastlakeSmith 
Miss Paterson 
Miss Tootell 



4/6 



5/6 



15 



In 1905 I paid my first visit to the South 
of France. I was unlucky enough to sprain 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 106 

my wrist ; but in spite of this mishap, the 
change of conditions, courts, and surroundings 
were all so novel that I thoroughly enjoyed 
my visit. The courts at the Beau Site, 
Cannes, are absolutely perfect, both as 
regards surface and background ; and when 
one has got used to the different bound 
of the ball and the rather trying glare of 
the sun, one could not wish for better con- 
ditions for good tennis. Many a famous 
match has been fought out on these courts ; 
and situated as they are in the beautiful 
grounds of the Hotel Beau Site, where most 
of the players stay, the environment is ideal. 
I was only able to play in the Monte Carlo 
tournament, after a few days* practice on the 
Beau Site courts, for it was just at the start 
of the Nice tournament that the accident 
to my wrist occurred. It was very dis- 
appointing to default after coming so far 
to take part in these tournaments. Several 
months elapsed before I could use my wrist 
again, and I was not able to play in any 



106 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

of the tournaments before I defended my 
title at Wimbledon. 

This year Miss May Sutton, the American 
lady champion, paid her first visit to England, 
and carried all before her, winning the 
championship of England and many other 
events, all without the loss of a single set 
— truly a wonderful performance. If any 
one had pluck it was Miss Sutton. To come 
to a strange country, practically friend- 
less (Miss Sutton made many friends over 
here, but she came over alone), and to 
play and defeat one after another of the 
best players in this country, was a feat 
which filled us all with unbounded admira- 
tion. 

I have played Miss Sutton five times, 
losing three and winning two of the matches. 
Of the three matches I lost, two were at 
Wimbledon, in the challenge rounds of 1905 
and 1907, and the third at Beckenham in 
the challenge round of 1907. My two 
victories were both gained in 1906, in the 



SOME PERSONAL REBONISCENCES 107 

challenge rounds at Liverpool and Wimble- 
don. Certainly the most exciting match I 
have ever played, and the one that gave 
me the most pleasure to win, was my match 
at Wimbledon against Miss Sutton in 1906. 
The match itself was not exactly enjoyable — 
the strain was too great ; so much seemed 
to depend upon me, both for my own 
reputation and that of my country. When 
Mr. Palmer, secretary of the All England 
Club, escorted us into the centre court and 
left us, with a word of encouragement in 
my ear, I felt helpless and destitute. You 
cannot realize what it means to face four 
thousand people and know that so much 
depends on your own exertions and cool- 
ness. Miss Sutton, I think, must have felt 
this loneliness in a still greater degree, for 
she was away from her country, her own 
people and friends. I have never had such 
a craving to speak to some one as I had 
in this match — just one flPiendly word to 
tell me whether I was playing the right 



108 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

sort of game or not I confess my feelings 
were very strung up. 

I remember in the second set, when Miss 
Sutton led at three games to love, I said to 
the umpire as we crossed over, ** I wonder, 
have I gone ofT, or is she playing much better?*' 
But, of course, his face was like a mask; 
he didn't vouchsafe a word. Not that I 
expected him to speak, but I felt I simply 
must say something to some one. He told 
me afterwards he wanted to say, *' I don't 
know ; but stick to it whatever happens ! '* 
Concentration on the game in this match 
was terribly difficult, as the crowd was so 
huge and seemed so excited ; it was almost 
impossible to forget the people and lose 
yourself in the game. I can quite well 
remember a dispute going on in the open 
stand for quite a long time during the first 
set. I think a lady would not put down 
her sunshade ; there was quite a commotion 
about it. Ani then people near would 
shout advice to me, or scream out, ** It's 



SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 109 

over ! Run ! " This happened two or three 
times ; and although 1. knew they were 
trying to help me, which in itself was 
cheering and encouraging, it was very dis- 
tracting and disconcerting. But after some 
time I lost it all, and became engrossed in 
the game. I think in 1907 Miss Sutton 
was much steadier and played a better all- 
round game, but I do not think she had 
quite the same terrific fore-hand drive as iii 
the first two years she was over here. Her 
strokes were safer perhaps, but not so for- 
midable and powerful. 

One of the great charms of playing in 
various tournaments is the means it afibrds 
of visiting all the different towns and 
countries. It may involve considerable 
travelling and expense, but the touring 
abroad is both an education and a delight. 
Monte Carlo, Nice, Cannes, Hombui^, 
Baden-Baden and Dinard, all bring the 
pleasantest reminiscences. Many of us 
have travelled about together, which is the 



110 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

joUiest way of doing the touraaments. I 
remember one most enjoyable trip, when 
Miss Lowther motored the Hillyards and 
myself through Germany — an ideal way of 
*' doing " tournaments ! The place at which 
a meeting is held, its surroundings, also the 
facilities it offers for amusement in the even- 
ing after your day's tennis is over, add to 
the enjoyment and make a material differ- 
ence. It will always be one of my chief 
delights, in thinking of my tennis career, 
to remember the hospitality and many 
courtesies I have everywhere received, and 
the many friends I have made, who I 
trust will remain friends long after my 
tennis is a thing of the past. 

It is extraordinary how naive the general 
public sometimes are. People will watch 
first-class tennis, sitting for hours together 
perhaps in great discomfort, and yet display 
a lamentable want of knowledge about the 
game. In fact, to many its object is a 
mystery! This seems hardly possible, but 



SOME PEBSONAL REMINISCENCES 111 

it is quite true. I once overheard a lady 
who was watching a match in the centre 
court at Wimbledon remark, ** There, that's 
the very first time that man has hit the 
net with the ball, and he has had hundreds 
of tries!" I thought the man mentioned 
must be playing pretty good tennis ! One 
really wonders why these onlookers spend 
so much time round a court, or where the 
pleasure can come in for them. 

At a garden party not so very long ago 
where tennis was on the programme, the 
visitors, arriving on the court, found one 
solitary ball, tied round with a long piece 
of string, the other end being attached to 
the net. To a natural inquiry the hostess 
replied, '^ Oh, they lost so many balls in 
the shrubbery last year, I really couldn't 
afibrd it, and thought of this plan. It has 
been most successful. This ball has lasted 
for ages!" Another lady at Eastbourne, 
whom I had noticed because she never left 
her seat, bringing her lunch with her so 



lis LAWN TENNIS FOR 

as not to lose a moment's play, asked me 
at the end of the week, while watching a 
double, whether the partners were side by 
side or opposite, as in bridge! 

One of the most rooted mistakes in the 
public mind is that the first-class player is 
a professional. Many times people have 
said to me, '' You must be making quite a 
nice bit of pocket-money from your tennis." 
" Making ? " I say, " Spending, you mean ! '' 
— ^which always makes them stare in amaze- 
ment. This fallacy annoys me very much, 
and is, I find, very common. Let me 
take the opportunity here of pointing out 
that there are no professional lawn tennis 
players excepting a few coaches at Queen's 
Club, London, and at some of the dubs 
abroad ; these men, of course, cannot com- 
pete in open tournaments. 



CHAPTER VII 
MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 

BY LEADING PLAYEBS 

TJu filknoing anUrihuHonSy in response to a request for sonic 
account of their most noteworthy encounter on courts have bee 
kindly furnished for this volume by leading lady players, 

MRS. G. W. HILLYARD 
(Champum^ 1886, 2889, 1894, 18971 X899, 1900) 

ONE of the most exciting matches I 
remember was the final for the 
Championship at Wimbledon, played on the 
centre court on July 6, 1889, between 
Miss Rice and me. I started very ner- 
vously, as Miss Rice had given me rather a 
fright in the Irish Championship the month 
before, when she appeared in Dublin as a 
" dark horse." On that occasion I had only 
scraped through 7/5, 7/5. I began the match 
8 113 



114 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

at Wimbledon by serving a double fault, and 
lost several games by doing the same thing 
in the first set. ^ My length was awful, and 
Miss Rice was playing well from the start* 
She had a very fine fore-hand drive, but, 
like myself, a bad back-hand. She led at 
3 games to i, and took the first set at 
6/4. In the second set I regained my 
confidence a little, winning three love games 
out of the first four ; but Miss Rice won the 
next four games in succession, the score being 
called 5/3 and 40/15 against me. At this 
point, in my despair, I said to Mr. Chipp, 
who was umpiring the match, " What can I 
do?" His grim answer was, "Play better, 
I should think." I then fully realized that 
I had not been playing my best game, and 
that to win I must hit harder. This I did, 
with the result that my length improved 
and I snatched this game from the fire — 
although Miss Rice was three times within 
a stroke of the match — and I eventually won 
the set at 8/6 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 116 

The last set was well fought out, for, al- 
though I began well and led at 3/1, Miss 
Rice won the next three games in succession 
and reached 40/30 in the following game. 
This was her last effort, as I ran out at 6/4, 
winning the Championship for the second 
time. I think it was one of the closest 
matches I ever played, and I see by Pas- 
time that I only won 18 games to her 16, 
and I ID strokes to her 100, and I felt I was 
most lucky to win at all. 





MRS. STERRY 

{Champion^ 1895, 1896, 2898, 190X, 1908) 

Of course it goes without saying that my 
most memorable and exciting matches will 
all be those in which I have excelled or 
been the most distinguished person at 
the immediate moment! Let me just say 
that I am not going to give details of 



116 LAWN TENNIS FOR 

any match, as that is beyond my power 
and, I assume, of little interest to the 
reader. 

Winning my first championship of the 
Ealing Lawn Tennis Club at the age of 14 
was a very important moment in my life. 
How well I remember, bedecked by my 
proud mother in my best clothes, running 
off to the Club on the Saturday afternoon to 
play in the final without a vestige of nerve 
(would that I had none now !), and winning 
— ^that was the first really important match 
of my life. 

Another great game will always be im- 
printed on my memory, and that was in 
1894, the first year that the late Mr. H. S. 
Mahony and I won the All England Mixed 
Championship. We beat Mrs. Hillyard and 
Mr. W. Baddeley in the final. The excite- 
ment of the onlookers was intense, and 
never shall I forget the overpowering sensa- 
tion I felt as we walked,, after our win, past 
the Aigburth Cricket Ground Stand, packed 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 117 

to its limit. How the people clapped and 
cheered us ! It was tremendous. 

Another memory — ^the year 1895. Cer- 
tainly I must be honest and say it wasn't 
exactly a good championship win, for Miss 
Dodd, Mrs. Hillyard, and Miss Martin 
were all standing out. Any of these could 
have beaten me. Nevertheless it was a 
delightful feeling to win the blue ribbon of 
England, especially as my opponent in the 
final» Miss Jackson, had led 5-love in both 
sets! By some good fortune I was able 
to win seven games off the reel in each 
case. 

One more match — in 1907. I had heard 
a great deal about Miss May Sutton (who 
made her first appearance in England in 
1905) beating everybody without the loss of 
a set. I had also heard she was a giant of 
strength, and that the harder one hit the 
more she liked it. The first time I met 
her was at Liverpool in 1907 — I did not 
play the previous season. I was determined 



118 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

to introduce unfamiliar tactics, giving her 
short balls in order to entice her up to the 
net The result was that many of her 
terrific drives went out, and I think this was 
primarily the reason why I was the first 
lady in England to take a set from her. I 
recollect her telling me, after the match was 
over, that my game was very difierent to 
any other she had ever played, and that she 
was not anxious to meet me again — remarks 
I took as a great compliment. 

There are scores of games just the re- 
verse of pleasant which are imprinted on my 
memory, but I am not going to revive them 
at my own expense, hoping they have been 
forgotten and forgiven to my account, by 
any unfortunate partners I have ever let 
down. 



I: i?: ^^tyuy 





iilMH 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 119 



MRS. DURLACHER 

(Doitblts ChmmpioM, 1899; Mixni DottbUs Chmmpian 0/ IrtiandfiZglB^ 

1901, Z903) 

A MATCH that remains in my memory 
perhaps more than any other was the final 
of the Irish Championship Singles at Dublin 
in 1902, when Miss Martin and I met and 
had a long struggle for supremacy. At 
one time it really seemed as if I must win 
this match, as I led at 5 games to i and was 
within a stroke of the match. But I could 
not make that one point. Once when I had 
the advantage and only wanted an ace to 
win the match, one of my returns ran along 
the top of the net, and then, unfortunately 
for me, dropped my side. Miss Martin 
stuck to her guns persistently and even- 
tually pulled the match out of the fire, 
winning the next six games straight off and 
thus becoming Irish Champion for 1902. It 
was very disappointing to lose after being 



ItO LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

so near victory. The score in Miss Martin's 
favour was 6/8, 6/4, 7/5. 




MISS V. M. PINCKNEY 
iOmmphm ^Lo md o u, 1907, igoQ 

In recalling the most remarkable lawn 
tennis match that I have ever played, I 
do not think I can do better than give the 
Open Mixed Double semi-final that took 
place on the final day of the Kent Cham- 
pionship Meeting at Beckenham on June i, 
1908. Mr. Roper Barrett and I met Mr. 
Prebble and Miss Boothby, and the story 
of the match is one of startling lapses and 
recoveries. In the first set Mr. Prebble 
and Miss Boothby profited by the com- 
bination born of frequent association in 
Mixed Doubles. Miss Boothby was veiy 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 121 

good from the back of the court and Mr. 
Prebble seemed to make mincemeat of my 
returns. It was their set by 6/4. In the 
second set Mr. Roper Barrett was quite 
wonderful, and killed every ball that he 
could possibly reach. The result was that 
the set was easily ours by 6/1. Our oppo- 
nents, however, had something in reserve, 
and, I playing badly, they ran away to 5/0 
in the third set. All seemed over. My 
partner and I made a great effort and got 
one game, and we congratulated ourselves 
on saving a love set. Then the excitement 
began, and we added game after game to 
our side. I am sure the crowd beame in- 
tensely interested, and quite worked them- 
selves up as we drew to 5 all. Mr. Barrett 
at this time was simply invincible, and I 
managed somehow to keep the balls out 
of Mr. Prebble's reach and play everything 
to Miss Boothby, upon whom devolved the 
responsibility. My partner volleyed at all 
kinds of remarkable angles, and, as The 



Itt LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

Sportsman^ in describing the match, re- 
marked, "sat on the net and was in com- 
plete command/' We took seven games 
consecutively and won the set at 7/5, and 
with it a memorable match. 



-fMr^^' 




MISS D. BOOTHBY 

(ChmmpUm^ 1909) 

Without doubt my most exciting match 
was the final last year at Wimbledon. la 
every player's heart there must be a faint 
hope that one day she may win the All 
England Championship. At least it has 
always been in mine. 

From Christmas and all through the 
spring my family and friends had dinned 
into my ears that now was my chance, and 
if I did not win this year I never would. 
Only when I was leading one set up and 
2-love in the second did all these things 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 123 

flash across my mind. I suddenly got 
nervous. Oh, the misery of it! I served 
double fault after double fault (I learnt 
afterwards that I gave away sixteen points 
in this way), and my friends told me that 
it was a relief to them when my service 
went over the net at all, however slowly. 
My opponent, Miss Morton, caught up, won 
the set 6/4, and led me 4/2 in the 
final set. All this time I had been fight- 
ing hard to regain confidence. At last my 
nerve came back — I was determined to win, 
and, only after a very great effort, just 
succeeded in capturing the Championship 
with the narrow margin of 8/6 in the 
final set. 

It was not until I had finished and had 
come off the court that I realized how very 
excited I had been, and how relieved I 
was when it was all over. . Only those who 
have had experience can know how ex- 
hausting it is to concentrate one's whole 
thoughts and efforts, without cessation, for 



It4 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

an hour or more. Fortunately you do not 
feel the strain until afterwards, when it does 
not matter, and then you can look back 
with very great pleasure and satisfaction 
on a hard-won fight. 




MRS. LARCOMBE 

(PambUs ChmmpioH^ 1903, 1904; Mtx§ti DoubltM CMmmpion, 1904, 1905) 

My "most memorable match" was in 
the All England Mixed Doubles Cham- 
pionship at Liverpool in 1904* Mr. S. H. 
Smith and I were playing Miss Wilson 
and ^r. A. W. Gore, and we had a great 
struggle for victory. I do not remember 
the exact score, but at one time our 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 186 

opponents were within an ace of the match. 
Miss Wilson served to me in the left court 
— a good service out on the side line. I 
played a straight back-hand shot down the 
line, passing Mr. Gore's forehand — rather 
a desperate stroke, as if it failed to pass 
him it meant certain death from one of his 
straight-arm volleys. Perhaps he was not 
guarding his line so well as usual, under 
the impression that I would not have the 
courage to try to pass him at such a critical 
moment — anyway, we won the point ; and 
eventually the match and the championship, 
beating the holders, Miss D. K. Douglass 
and Mr. F. L. Riseley, in a most exciting 
match — almost as "memorable" to me, 
because I hit Mr. Riseley three times with 
smashes. I remember that side-line stroke 
and those three '*hits" with great joy! 



1S6 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

MRS. LAMPLOUGH 

I FIND it a matter of some difficulty to 
decide which is the most memorable of 
the more important matches in which I 
have played. Four or five as I recall 
them seem» each in turn, to have left a 
lasting impression on my memory for one 
reason or another. Yet none of them ap- 
pear more worthy of note than the others. 
The match which I think I shall remem- 
ber long after many others are forgotten 
took place last year (1909) in the com- 
paratively small and little-known tourna- 
ment at Romsey. For the first time for 
some years I had missed winter practice 
on the covered courts at Queen's Club 
and in the South of France, and when 
I started again late in June, on moderate 
club courts and against none too keen 
opponents, I found myself looking forward 
with apprehension to my first efibrt in 
public. In the semi-final of the Ladies' 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 127 

Open Singles at Romsey I met Miss 
Sugden, whose well-merited reputation as 
a lawn tennis player is more or less a 
local one, chiefly for the reason that she 
has not competed in any of the first-class 
tournaments. It was a close afternoon, and 
the court being heavy we both felt the 
heat very much as the game progressed. 
I never really looked like winning the first 
set; my opponent led 4/1, and though I 
managed to equalize she easily ran out at 
6/4. It was in the second set that the 
real struggle took place. In spite of all 
my efforts, Miss Sugden won game after 
game, until the game stood at 5/1 against 
me and 30 all ; but by good luck I 
snatched that game and the two following. 
At 5/4 and my service we had deuce quite 
ten or twelve times, but in the end I 
managed to win and took the set at 7/5. 
After that I felt better, and with renewed 
confidence and steadier nerves I won the 
final set at, I think, 6/3. 



1J8 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADIES 

There was nothing particularly remark- 
able in the match, but somehow I felt 
that confidence in myself for the future 
depended in a great measure on my suc- 
cess in this event, and, in spite of having 
a very sporting opponent, I never felt 
more relieved in my life than when the 
last stroke was played. 



MISS A. M. MORTON 

(ilMMiwr Mpfarthg Champiomth^, 1909) 

I FEEL I owe an apology to Mrs. Luard 
for writing about a match in which. I 
happened to beat her, as she is, and was 
then, a player altogether a class above me. 
No doubt it became "memorable," as I 
certainly never expected to win at the 
outset, and still less so when I was under- 
going one of those ghastly ** creep-ups " in 
the final set. It happened in 1904 at 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 129 

Wimbledon, on the centre court, in the 
semi-final of the Championship. Miss 
Wilson (as she then was) started well and 
won the first set 6/3, the second went 
to me at 6/4, and the third set seemed as 
if it would go to either of us in turn. 
Everything went well for me till I actually 
got to 5/1 and it was 15/40 on her ser- 
vice ; then I lost two points quite easily 
— those winning shots are so hard to make! 
And at deuce we had a tremendous rally, 
which ended in a good side-line shot by my 
opponent that I couldn't get to and didn't 
even try. The linesman called ** out," which 
I contradicted, and general confusion took 
place, the spectators joining in the fray — 
and it all' arose through the ball being 
given * * out " in the middle of the long rally 
when a train was passing, and we neither 
of us heard it. I never knew the explana- 
tion till after the match and was quite 
convinced I had "sneaked" the point, and 
somehow I went all to pieces, and every- 
9 



180 LAWN TENNIS FOR LADffiS 

thing went as badly as it had gone well 
before, till Miss Wilson crept up to 6/5. 
Then I made an expiring effort just in 
time. I dare say she was tired, for I won 
that game fairly easily. We had a great 
fight for the thirteenth, which I fortunately 
won, and finished the match with a love 
game. And no one was more surprised 
than 1. 



OAi^y^cM^ ^ 



MISS A. N. G. GREENE 

{Ernst 0/ England Champion^ 1903, 1905) 

It is difficult to decide on the most 
memorable match one has ever played. 
Each in turn seems at the time to be the 
most important. One which I found very 
exciting at the time was against Mrs. 
Luard in the final for the Cup at Felix- 
stowe. I won the first set 6/3, and led 
5/1 and 40/30 in the next, when Mrs. 



MY MOST MEMORABLE MATCH 181 

Luard sent me a short easy ball — a cer- 
tain **kiir' at any other time. I sent it 
out. Four times after that I was within 
a point of the match, but could not quite 
pull it ofif, and Mrs. Luard, playing up 
brilliantly, not only won that set, but led 
5/2 in the third. Then I made a final 
effort, .and though it was always touch-and- 
go I managed to make it 6/5. In the 
next game Mrs. Luard was 40-love, but 
after a great struggle I got it, and so won 
the match, though it was anybody's game 
to the end. 



INDEX 



All England Club, 107 
Athletics for girls, i 
Austin, Miss, 93 



Back-hand drive, 15, 24 
Baddeley, Mr. W., 116 
Baden-Baden, 109 
Barrett, Mr. Roper, 120 
Beau Site, Hotel, 105 
Beckenham, 51, 99, 106, 120 
Boothby, Miss, 49, 97, 120, 

122 
Brighton, 100 



Cannes, 77, 105, 109 
Championship, the, 102, 104, 

115, 122, 129 
Chipp, Mr. H., 114 
Chiswick Park, 92 
Clubs, 85 
" Complete Lawn Tennis 

Player, The," 21 
Cooper, Miss C. (see also 

Sterry, Mrs.), 92, 97 
Courts, 72 



Diet, 72 
Dinard, 77, 109 
Dod, Miss, 49, 117 
Doherty, Mr. R. F., 9 
Doubles, 49 

Douglass, Miss D. K., 95, 125 
Dress, 64 

Dressing-rooms, 81 
Driving, 22 
Drop-shots, 27 
Dublin, 113, 119 
Durlacher, Mrs., 100, 119 
Dyas, Miss, 93 



Ealing L.T.C., 91, 116 
Ealing Common L.T.C., 89 
Eastbourne, 43, 93, 97, 100, 
III 



Felixstowe, 130 
Fore-hand drive 22 
France, South of, 105, 126 



Garfit, Miss, 93 

Gipsy Tournament, 88, Z03 



133 



184 



INDEX 



Ckwe, Mr. A. W., 46. 124 
Gwcno. Biias A. N. G.. 43. 

93. 130 
Greville, Mn., 98 

H 

Half-volley, 27 
Head-work, 19 
Health, e£fect on, 5, 81 
HUlyard, Mr. G. W., 74, 91. 

97 
— Birs., 49, 93, 113, 116 
Homburg, 77, 109 



Jackson, Miss, X17 
Jones, Miss M., 94 



Lamplough, Mrs., 126 

Larcombe, Mrs. See Thom- 
son, Miss 

Lawn Tennis, 95 

Lawn tennis and golf, 17 

cost of, xo 

Liverpool, 107, xi6, 124 

Lobbing, 25. 53 

Lob-volley, 26 

Low volleys, 34 

Lowther, Miss, 102, no 

Luard, Mrs. (see also Wilson, 
Miss C. M.), X28, 130 

M 

Mahony, Mr. H. S., 34. 76, 

116 
Manchester, loi 



tin. Miss L., 97, 102, 117, 
119 

Match play, 36, 69 
Mixed doubles, ix, 51 
Monte Carlo, 105, X09 
Morgan, Miss E. R., 93 
Morton, Miss, 99, xo2, 123, 
X28 

Myers, A. Wallis, 2X 



N 



Newcastle, 42 
Nice, 105, 109 



Palmer, Mr., X07 
Pastime, 115 

Pinckney. Miss V., 51, 120 
Practice, how to, 14 
Prebble. Mr. A. D., 120 

Q 
Queen's Club, 76, 81, 112, 126 

R 

Rackets. 60 
Reading, 51 
Rice, Miss, 49, XX3 
Riseley, Mr. F. L., loi, 125 
Robb, Miss, 49, 52, 93, 97, 

xoo 
Romsey, 126 



Schulenberg, Countess, 99 
Service, 30, 45 
— American, 47 



INDEX 



-. 186 



Shoes, 67 

" Slazengcr," 60 

Smash, 34 

Smith, Mr. S. H., 124 

Sportsman, The, 122 

Staleness, 37 

Sterry, Mrs., 44, 49, 9^, 97, 

100, 115 
Sugden, Miss, 127 
Sutton, Miss, 43, 45, 48, 49, 

91, 106, 117 



Tactics, 40, 58 

Thomson, Miss £. W., 48, 

102, 124 
Thorpe Satchville, 74 
Tournaments, abuse of, 37, 

54 



Tournaments, management 

of, 78 
— value of, 19, 37 
Training, 69 
Tulloch, Miss B., 93, 99 



U 



Umpires, 84 



VoUeying, 26, 34, 47, 50 

W 

Watson, Miss M., 49 
Wilson, Miss C. M., 42, 931 

102, 124 
Wimbledon* 44, 74, 81, 85, 

97f 103, 106, III, 122, 129 



PRUtTED BT 

■AXBLL, WATBON AMD VINET, LD., 

LONDON AND ATLSSBURY. 



i 

i 





HWaOtZT